By Erika Mathieu
Sunny South News
The Town of Coaldale has broken ground on Phase 3 of the Civic Square project.
Monday’s groundbreaking ceremony marks the start of construction of the highly anticipated year-round outdoor gathering space which will be located on the vacant land behind the Town’s recently completed Civic Square Building.
Upon completion, the outdoor gathering place will function as a backbone in the facilitation of enhanced community programming and future events. On Aug. 12, the space was utilized for the first community event as part of the Town’s annual Summer Fest celebration.
Intensive discussion for how to maximize usage and work within budgetary constraints have guided council on the final design of the space which will include picnic tables, natural gas fire pits, a concession stand, and public washrooms. A large concrete pad will allow for year round programming including concerts, farmer’s markets, movie nights, as well as festivals and other events. Design for this space includes rough-ins for refrigerant lines and will function as an outdoor skating rink during the colder months.
In June, international expert on building desirable downtowns, Roger Brooks visited Coaldale and gave a presentation to residents and stakeholders on how the town can improve to create a successful downtown. Brooks applauded the Town’s plans ongoing plans for the outdoor gathering space at Civic Square.
“You are building a plaza over here and that is going to be fabulous. I am so glad you’re doing that, this will be great,” adding, “what you need to make a downtown successful is you need people hanging out there at least 250 days a year,” and said spaces such as the outdoor gathering centre function as a “community living room”, giving residents a “third space” to enjoy, often leading to positive economic outcomes for downtown businesses, and an uptick in visitors and tourism.
Mayor of Coaldale, Jack Van Rijn said in a Town-issued release, “For over a year, our Council has been reviewing detailed designs of the space and we’re confident that, once completed, this space will not only become a year-round community living room for our residents, but also put downtown Coaldale on the map,” and added, “It’s great to finally see this project get off the ground”.
Following the completion of the outdoor space, the Town will shift gears to focus on the project’s final phase, which will involve the development of up to 10,000 square feet of additional commercial space along the town’s main street, 20 Avenue.
Mayor Van Rijn extended thanks to various businesses and donors who have contributed to the project with cash or in-kind contributions.
“I want to thank everyone whose been involved thus far, but especially Shift Real Estate Investments, Dennis Dirtworx, ATCO Gas, and Telus,” he said, “I also want to thank the Yip Family, who generously donated the lot next to our Civic Square building to make the project possible.”
Van Rijn also extended thanks to the federal funding provided by the Canada Community Revitalization Fund (CCRF),with a $750,000 grant which “was instrumental in helping us contend with inflationary pressures during the tendering process.”
The Town of Coaldale’s Manager of Infrastructure, Dustin Yanke confirmed, “Construction is anticipated to reach substantial completion in the summer of 2024 with the skating rink to be operational for the fall of 2024.”