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This article was published 9/4/2016 (350 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The city’s downtown development agency has some big ideas for how south Main Street can be redeveloped and revitalized.
In a new 16-page document posted on its website, CentreVenture Development Corp. outlines through a series of conceptual drawings its vision for how the section of Main Street between Portage Avenue and the Assiniboine River might be redeveloped.
Some of the proposals outlined in the South Main Redevelopment Concepts report are: some kind of new mixed-use developments on four of the larger surface parking lots along the strip; enhancements to the streets and gateways leading from Main Street to The Forks; and construction of a new rapid-transit corridor along the railway line east of Main and the creation of a new rapid-transit hub at the Via Rail Station.
CentreVenture president and CEO Angela Mathieson stressed Friday these are just proposals designed to generate further discussion and a further exchange of ideas. She said CentreVenture officials have had some preliminary discussions over the past year with property owners along the strip, but further discussions will need to take place before a more detailed planning document can be developed.
"Our role, really, is to create kind of a vision based on what some of the natural assets of the area are and what some of the future opportunities might be. And what you’re seeing (in the report) is kind of our analysis and concepts in that regard."
The four surface parking lots the corporation would like to see redeveloped are the Earl’s Restaurant, Via Rail, and North West Company lots on the east side of Main Street, and the Wawanesa Insurance lot on the northwest corner of Main and Broadway.
She admitted the rapid-transit line/transit-hub proposal is one of the more "futuristic" ideas in the plan. "But we’re always trying to think ahead."
She said another option that’s been proposed is setting aside a portion of Main Street as a dedicated rapid transit corridor.
"We have to think about all the different types of rapid-transit options that might be feasible."
Mathieson said further streetscape enhancements in the area — such as better pedestrian lighting, wider sidewalks and the introduction of trees, planters, benches, art and sculptures — would help create a stronger physical connection between The Forks and the rest of the downtown.
"That’s a critical component to any plan we’re going to come up with here because the concept really is to have the downtown become part of The Forks and The Forks become part of the downtown," she added.