Positive change to Alberta Avenue
Edmonton – It’s been eight years since revitalization efforts on Alberta Avenue began, and the improvement is now very noticeable. It’s happening because of a community coming together and the City of Edmonton putting up tens of millions of dollars.
The Streetscape changes are the most noticeable. Work continues from 103 to 106 Streets. It’s not cheap. Around 30 million dollars have been invested.
Public dollars have also been directed to a number of plans, including, artists housing, building improvement programs, and re-zoning efforts.
“I’m seeing a lot of people that live in the community actually using the sidewalks: walking, running, taking their dogs for a walk,” says Constable Kurtis Hauptman, Edmonton Police Service (EPS) Neighbourhood Empowerment Team.
“You don’t feel as uncomfortable walking just on 118th on your own at any given time, so that’s nice, and it’s a lot prettier now than it used to be,” says area resident, Kati Luknowsky.
There’s also continued funding for the Neighbourhood Empowerment Team, which brings together police, bylaw, and a social worker.
“It’s the people that are living in the communities that are making the big changes, that are continuing to work on those changes,” explains Hauptman.
As much as the area has improved, work continues on the area’s social issues.
“Every year we have lived here there has been some sort of major incident in our area. There was a shooting our first year. Last year, we had an attack close to our house,” says Luknowsky.
But statistics show a downward trend on eight crime indicators, including, assault, homicide, robbery and thefts.
The communities of Eastwood, Parkdale, and Alberta Avenue surround the business strip where revitalization efforts are taking place.
“In our area, especially like where we live in Parkdale, there’s a really good police presence. We always feel very protected,” says Luknowsky.
The change on Alberta Avenue is being driven by partnerships, with each stakeholder taking an active role. New businesses continue to fill derelict spaces like the old Cromdale Hotel.
Edmonton entrepreneurs are also filling the void. In the resident areas, what were once old homes have been torn down, making room for infill.
With files from Vinesh Pratap
© 2013 Shaw Media