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Red Deer City Council
Riverlands development ready for debate

reprinted from Red Deer Advocate (Laura Tester) September 3, 2011
A plan of how best to develop Riverlands into a vibrant mixed-use neighbourhood over the next 20 years is going forward to Red Deer city council on Monday.

Elected leaders will be asked to give first reading of the 2011 Riverlands Area Redevelopment Plan. The plan area is defined by the Red Deer River on the west, Taylor Drive on the north and east and the West Park neighbourhood on the south.

The area redevelopment plan was crafted after the Greater Downtown Action Plan was finished in 2008 following extensive public input.

Currently, Riverlands is a low-density commercial-industrial area.

The intent is to make the area into a thriving public area that's pedestrian friendly.

Visitors would be able to be wined and dined, see various entertainment and have the chance to stay at a prominent hotel convention centre.

Plus, there would be a prominent riverwalk. The Red Deer River forms the border for over a third of the greater downtown, and much of that is in Riverlands.

Development would take bold steps to enhance and connect to the river's edge, culminating in a central civic plaza projecting over the bank with a bridge across the river to Bower Ponds.

"Riverlands will become the first truly 'smart growth' mixed-use, high density, urban neighbourhood in the city," says the document.

The objective is to have 2,500 people live in Riverlands by 2031. The majority of the area will be zoned to allow medium density housing, with a height limit of 4.5 storeys.

This plan adds new ideas for major civic gathering space, as well as arts and cultural venues. Plus, it looks at improved pedestrian and vehicle connections between Riverlands and the rest of the downtown.

Some of the possible attractions include public art in prominent locations and throughout Riverlands.

The city also envisions a year-round market within the former civic bus barns. The landmark hotel/convention centre at the north end of the plan area would include other businesses, including restaurants, bars and shops.

The area redevelopment plan also encourages the development of publicly accessible open spaces on private commercial or residential lands.

News articles related to historic downtown Red Deer redevelopment
(the original vision of the Forth Junction Heritage Society included an attraction in the new downtown
Riverlands but this vision was modified to have one destination close to the city and active rail line):

       Commentary: The Greater Downtown Action Plan progress and potential (Red Deer Express May 2013)
       News article: Railyards: Open house on a 20-year plan for downtown
(Red Deer Advocate June 2011)
       News article: Riverlands: Strong turnout for open house
(Red Deer Advocate March 2011)
       Commentary: Red Deer could use more bold visionary landmark designers
(Red Deer Express Sep.2010)
       News article: Paths to change (Rotary Recreation Park) (Red Deer Advocate Aug.2010)
       Editorial: Time for downtown vision
(Red Deer Advocate July 2010)
       News article: Big expectations for downtown Red Deer (Red Deer Advocate June 2009)
       News article: Chance of a lifetime (Red Deer Advocate Jan.2009)
       Editorial: No San Antonio but hope left for Big Wow (Red Deer Express Nov.2008)
       News article: Canal plan jettisoned (Red Deer Express Nov.2008)
       News article: Red Deer - Alberta's next great city (Red Deer Express July 2008)

Downtown Red Deer Ground Transportation Themes

Michael Dawe articles related to railway heritage of downtown Red Deer:
       Looking back to when Red Deer landed city status (Red Deer Express March 2013)
       Prosperous times for New Year's, 1912 in Red Deer
(Red Deer Express Dec.2011)
       An early community landmark - the Michener Fountain (Red Deer Express June 2011)
       Lots of street name debate in City's history (Red Deer Express Sep.2010)
       Region celebrating century of railroad heritage (Red Deer Express March 2010)
       CPR Station Park once shining jewel of Red Deer (Red Deer Express June 2009)
Canadian Pacific Railway Bridge now 100 years old (Red Deer Advocate June 2009) 
       Red Deer's downtown hotels have celebrated history
(Red Deer Express June 2009)
       The history of Red Deer's CPR station
(Red Deer Express April 2007)
       Red Deer becomes a divisional point for CPR
(Red Deer Advocate Special March 2007)


 News articles about the Forth Junction Heritage Society:
World-class destination centre still in the works 11/13       Praise today's big dream 01/12       Forth Junction targets county 12/11 
Forth Junction pulling toward a new station
12/11        A volunteer on the right track 12/10        Tourism board supports rail project 10/10
Forth Junction rail project seeking charitable status
10/10        Rail tourist attraction idea gets rolling 07/10        Railway heritage 06/10
New idea for Riverlands worth an Olympic cheer 02/10       Happy to hear more talk on large-scale attractions 02/10
One-time opportunity 02/10       Tourism proposal facing obstacles 02/10       World-class attraction proposed for Riverlands 02/10

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