June 8, 2018 6:55 pm

Regina’s downtown busier, more popular: survey

Sean Stetner / Global News
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With the Saskatchewan Roughriders back in action, the Queen City’s downtown is sure to be buzzing- whether patrons are drowning their sorrows or cheering on a win.

In a new survey, Regina’s Downtown Business Improvement District (BID) found residents are more satisfied with the variety of events and the general state of the city’s core.

READ MORE: Regina Downtown Business Improvement District eyes expansion


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Foot traffic has increased nearly 600 percent from 2011, transforming from so-called ‘ghost town’ to a thriving mix of new businesses and historic streets.

“You might be coming here for business, but you’re really in that place where people feel at home and is something exciting and something unique to the community,” BID Executive Director Judith Veresuk said. “It’s the character of downtown.”

The survey followed up on a similar questionnaire from 2015. Results showed growth in public satisfaction with special events and festivals, family activities, nightlife, dining, and shopping and retail.

READ MORE: Regina Folk Festival returns to downtown core for 47th year

Veresuk said the expansion of the plaza and food trucks have given people more reason to be out on the street and exploring.

Following a tough recession, some patrons feel prices are out of reach, though the atmosphere has taken a positive turn.

“It is actually quite a bit better than I remembered as far as ambiance, and the look of it is so improved,” Regina resident David McGeough said. “People want to come downtown because that’s where the action is.”

Some restaurants and pubs said they’ve never been busier thanks to big events like the Memorial Cup and the Brier. For others, there are still improvements they’d like to see.

READ MORE: Organizers lose and the province gains in Memorial Cup economic spinoff

“We don’t have the public transit going late, so you’re seeing the late night really die,” bar manager Matt Braun said. “People aren’t partying downtown late anymore because the access isn’t there.”

Braun hopes increased transit and ridesharing services like Uber or Lyft could make an impact down the road. BID agrees parking and transit are still a work in progress.

“I don’t think you’ll find a downtown anywhere in North America that doesn’t have parking as an issue,” Veresuk added.

In the meantime, a Roughriders game will always be good for business.

 

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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