Hey there, time traveller! This article was published 21/4/2015 (2295 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
One of the city’s oldest and most dynamic neighbourhoods will be getting a facelift this summer.
The Osborne Village Business Improvement Zone (BIZ) is planning a neighbourhood rebranding and streetscaping initiative that will see Osborne Village positioned as "the village" in Winnipeg.
"We feel that every major metropolis city in Canada and the U.S., if you go there they all do have a village of some sort, and that’s what we want to really encompass with Osborne," Osborne Village BIZ executive director Stephanie Meilleur told The Sou’wester.
Approximately 50 bike racks will be installed along the main strip and some side streets between Roslyn Road and Confusion Corner, ‘street furniture’ including benches and bucket seating will be added, and the bell tower on Stradbrook is being re-envisioned as a community meeting spot complete with landscaping.
"The purpose is to allow more people to visit Osborne a little bit longer and really enjoy it," Meilleur explained. "Especially with the new vision of the bell tower and what’s going to be there. It’s going to be a green space and be very inviting."
The BIZ will also be launching a branding campaign featuring radio spots, banner installations along Osborne Street, a new logo, and a social media strategy based on the messaging "Osborne Village: It all happens here."
The BIZ will be soliciting stories and memories from the community about Osborne Village through the social media campaign and the hashtag #itallhappenshere.
"We find that anyone in Winnipeg that has a story has a story about Osborne Village and we want people to share those stories," Meilleur said.
According to Coun. Jenny Gerbasi (Fort Rouge - East Fort Garry) timing was right for the rebranding.
Though the specifics on funding for the bike racks and other physical improvements weren’t available at press time, money is coming from the City of Winnipeg to support the projects through an established funding schedule. Osborne Village BIZ has also been saving funds for several years for streetscaping and green space enhancement.
"This has been something that has evolved over years and it’s really exciting that it’s happening," Gerbasi said.
According to Gerbasi, the Osborne Village BIZ is one of the oldest BIZ zones in the city and it’s time for a refresh of the neighbourhood.
"We want to keep the Village really vibrant and exciting and part of that has always been the feel on the street. The streetscaping helps that, so it’s important that way," she added.
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The BIZ is also hoping to capitalize on a cultural shift in the Osborne Village area with a broader cross-section of people calling the Fort Rouge community home.
"Osborne Village has a real history here in the city," Meilleur said. "From a residential point we’re the most diverse community in all of Canada right here in Osborne Village, and we need to take that diversity and really bring it into our future."
The overall objective of the rebranding project is to get more visitors coming into Osborne Village to experience what it has to offer — and that includes tourists and even Winnipeggers who may have previously written off the area.
"I think some people may have strayed from Osborne Village in the past," Meilleur added. "We want everyone to know it’s just as cool of a place as it was 10 or 15 years ago, if not cooler."
The first phase of streetscaping will begin this spring. For more information about the BIZ, go to osbornevillage.com
Along with streetscaping and rebranding, the BIZ is also working on a graffiti style art project that will change the appearance of the area’s back lanes.
With the help of local artist Brian Gasenzer (responsible for the mural on the south side of The Toad in the Hole) the alley between River and Stradbrook Avenue behind Second Cup and TD will be completely painted in an “aerosol art” style, Osborne Village BIZ executive director Stephanie Meilleur said. The BIZ is calling the project “art alley.”
The project will also get a number of local youth involved to cover the expansive run of brick buildings. The theme of the mural has yet to be decided and will likely be a collaboration between the artists and the BIZ.
According to Meilleur, the BIZ is also looking at wrapping Hydro boxes in the area with graffiti style art.
The Osborne Village BIZ is still seeking funding for art alley and the project will begin as soon as cash is secured.