December 13, 2017 10:53 pm
Updated: December 14, 2017 3:59 pm

‘Time for a refresh’: City of Calgary looking at Stephen Avenue revamp

WATCH: The City of Calgary is looking to revamp Stephen Avenue. As Christa Dao explains, officials are asking for the public's feedback in what they changes they would like to see.

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It’s what some refer to as the heart of the downtown core and after years of wear and tear, Stephen Avenue is in need of repairs.

The City of Calgary’s urban strategy project manager Graham Gerylo said they want to see the pedestrian mall revamped and revitalized, and if all goes according to plan, Stephen Avenue could receive a facelift.

“During our busiest times, at the heart of the [Calgary] Stampede, we have tens of thousands of people an hour walking on the street and over the years, Stephen Avenue is starting to deteriorate,” Gerylo said.

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“We have to use a lot of money and resources and upgrade and maintain the street every year and it’s really time for a refresh.”

READ MORE: 17 Avenue reopens after months of construction woes for businesses

Major repairs and renovations haven’t been done on the street since the 1980s, according to Gerylo.

The bricks are deteriorating so badly, they pose as a tripping hazard. The yearly upkeep is a band-aid solution that isn’t feasible long term, Gerylo said.

“They’ve become loose and we’re spending a lot of resources to fix the cracks and make the walking surface safe for Calgarians,” he said.

Now, the city is asking for the public’s help in shaping what the new Stephen Avenue will look like.

The city said it will be looking at all options and anything is on the table. It will be looking at ways to update infrastructure, like the lights that luminate downtown.

“How do we update our lighting technology to LED to save on lighting bills?” Gerylo said.

“[We need to] rethink how our streets are lit.”

READ MORE: Calgary business owner tells travelling senate committee to rethink tax changes

The revitalization talks are something the Downtown Calgary association said it has been wanting for quite some time.

“We’ve been asking for this for some time so we’ve been working with the folks at the city to get this moving forward,” executive director Maggie Schofield said.

“We’re at the point where we need to look at what the future is for Stephen Avenue,” she said.

Ward 7 Counc. Druh Farrell said she is excited about the changes, but wants the work done properly. Farrell said she would like to see a more “European” feel downtown with open liquor.

“In the summer, Stephen Avenue is lined with fencing and that’s to allow people to have a drink on the patio. We don’t need to do that,” she said.

READ MORE: Calgary businesses launch petition calling for open liquor on 17 Avenue

The city said planning is still in the early stages. As for what it would look like and what it will cost, those figures will come after community consultation.

Consultations are expected in early 2018.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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