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Red Deer - Alberta's next great city
 
reprinted from Red Deer Express (Erin Fawcett) July 2, 2008
 
Internationally recognized planner Michael von Hausen said he believes Red Deer is the next great city in Alberta.

He, along planner Michael Gellar were in Red Deer last week to lead the community in shaping a vision for downtown.

Over the course of the week they led an evening workshop on the future of downtown and prepared key urban design concepts for downtown Red Deer.

Concepts were then displayed for input June 24 and were presented on June 26.

"This is an opportunity that many cities would love to be a part of," said Mayor Morris Flewwelling.

Von Hausen and Geller broke the city's downtown into three districts.

The first district was The Core, which was labelled as a six block radius in the immediate downtown area.

The planners said with the recent closure of Uptown Cinema, they envisioned that as a new civic centre where opera and multi-cultural events could be held.

They also suggested the public parking lot to the east of the building could be a space where celebrations and big announcements are held.

Von Hausen and Geller discouraged the parkade on top of the transit terminal saying it would be a negative impact on the downtown core and should be left as an open space.

Other features in The Core district included gas fireplace features with seating on street corners and the enhancement of selective alleyways.

As well, the planners identified more residential surrounding The Core area.

The second district was identified as the Railyard district.

This area includes the pedestrian train bridge and the Alpha Dairy Plant.

Von Hausen and Geller said they would like to see residential in that area including ground oriented townhouses and high residential towers.

The green space just south of the pedestrian train bridge could be used as a park which could hold various community events.

The third district was identified as the River Crossing district.

This area is located south of the Taylor Drive bridge.

Von Hausen and Geller said more residential was needed in this area.

The planners also identified a year round market for the area as well as a convention centre and hotel and a pedestrian bridge over the river to Bower Ponds.

Also identified in this area was a 50,000 sq. ft. building called The Ark which would include a tropical garden with a 200 ft. tall observation tower in which you could see the whole city.

"Overall we want to encourage unique shops with international flavour, a cultural arts centre and galleries," said von Hausen.

"We ultimately want to slow down traffic in the downtown and review the parking requirements and usage."

He added he would like to see the creation on continuous sidewalks with trees planted on either side of the street and landscaped parking lots.

"We could also introduce a historic bus trolley that would move along Alexander Way down to the river front," said von Hausen.

He added this vision is up to the residents of Red Deer to implement.

"This is your future. This is your choice," said von Hausen.

This summer a consulting team and steering committee will create a draft of the Downtown Action Plan as well as a feasibility study based on the information gathered by von Hausen and Geller.

It is expected a draft plan will be presented for public feedback in the fall.

Once refined, that plan will be presented to city council for approval and implementation.
 


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: Riverlands development ready for debate
(Red Deer Advocate Sep.2011)
       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)

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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