Downtown Lethbridge holds a lot of the city’s history, and boasts a variety of businesses, from arts and culture, to dining and nightlife. However, as the years pass, officials believe change is needed.
With the COVID-19 pandemic impacting the livelihood of those who work and enjoy downtown, several Lethbridge groups have decided to proceed with their plans to enhance the image of the “heart of the city.”
The City of Lethbridge, the Downtown Business Revitalization Zone (BRZ), the Heart of Our City Committee of Council, and Economic Development Lethbridge have all been a part of the project.
“We’re putting money into promoting downtown, advertising and this new campaign with signage and street post signs,” said chair of Downtown Lethbridge BRZ Hunter Heggie. “That’s what we’re doing with this big push.”
This revitalization project comes with the help of a $50,000 grant from the Alberta government’s Community and Regional Economic Support (CARES) program, and an equal amount is being provided by the City of Lethbridge.
Dawn Leite, chair of the Heart of Our City Committee, says the project also aims to help ensure businesses are still able to open up safely amid the pandemic this summer.
”We spoke quite a bit at the committee about how we can ensure businesses are still opening up safe, but still provide some of those public spaces,” Leite said.
In addition to more street patios, residents will see new enhancements such as light banners, and a “Streetery” at Festival Square on 6 Street S. to allow for more outdoor dining spaces.
Each space will include the new downtown branding and be equipped to handle proper public health guidelines.
“We’re really excited for this fresh new start,” Ted Stilson, the executive director of the Downtown BRZ, said.
“The new brand is about telling the stories of what makes downtown Lethbridge special,” he added.
Stilson said that downtown businesses have been through a lot of change, but they also have grit and resiliency, adding they need support from the community now more than ever before.
“The new look for Downtown Lethbridge shows character which matches the people and places that are downtown,” Leite said.
“Just like Downtown Lethbridge, you’ll notice it’s not perfect, it’s a little rough around the edges, but it still has a fun and friendly feel,” she said.
“We were also able to use complimentary colours to the community brand and a similar ‘together’ theme between the two.”
As different elements from the project roll out over the next few months, the groups are encouraging residents and visitors to share social media posts of their experience downtown, using the hashtags #togetherdowntown and #downtownlethbridge.