An old part of Edmonton near Whyte Avenue will be getting a new look in its alleyways.
The back alley is located between Whyte and 83 Avenue and adjacent to Calgary Trail. It’s expected to get a complete overhaul by next spring, bringing storefronts, pedestrians and life to the area.
“This is probably the city’s oldest back alley and to have it be the beginning of some kind of new urban design concept — it’s the perfect place for it,” said Jeff Nachtigall, co-owner of Sugared and Spiced Baked Goods.
Nachtigall says he’s bought into the vision of this concept, an idea that’s very popular in Asia and Australia.
“There’s examples all over the world where bigger cities are doing this kind of thing.
A lot of them are in heritage, more mature neighbourhoods, where they’re looking at how they can add more density, with respecting this small-scale, interesting, intricate road and alley network,” Cherie Klassen, executive director with the Old Strathcona Business Association, explained.
The concept was initiated by a company that owns various buildings in the area and proposed a makeover. After communicating the idea, the business community was on board, along with the city.
The backstreet project was included in the Strathcona neighbourhood renewal project last spring, which provided funding and further support.
This week, the city revealed an initial design concept to local business owners and stakeholders of what it will look like. The revamp will include upgraded surface paving and lighting. The community may try to raise money to add other enhancements like seating and a change in garbage access.
“We’re really excited about this plan. We believe it will make a big difference for our business.
“What they’re planning for here is something that will bring people to this place and make it an enjoyable place to be,” added Nachtigall.
According to stakeholders, the city plans to finalize its plans and funding by the New Year and begin construction by the beginning of spring 2020.