Downtown Association AGM – Awards and Highlights
The DownTown Association Board has two new faces following our February 26 meeting.
Jeff Erbach (Art Gallery of Grande Prairie) and Cris Seppola-Podsada (Nine10) replace Shane Mudryk (214 Place Administration) and Dianne Laurin (Snapshot Studio and Photo).
Many thanks to Dianne and Shane for their investments of time and energy to the DownTown Association over the years.
Other members are Chelsea O’Neill (Revolution Place), John Kriska (Better Than Fred’s), Harold Friesen (Concetto Interior Design), Grant Berg (Grant Berg Gallery), Cliff Headon (Stringham, LLP), Markus Oeser (Aquatera), Kristina MacNeil (Pink Rain Hair Lounge), Brian Glavin (City Administration Representative), and Chris Thiessen (City Council).
The Chair and Vice-Chair positions will be filled at the next Board meeting.
The Art Ouellette Memorial Award was presented to Telus. The award was launched in 1997 to recognize a business that has made an outstanding contribution to the city centre by meeting or exceeding beautification and customer service standards. Factors include outstanding detail to upkeep, display maintenance, cleanliness, presentation and operation of their business.
New Horizon Co-op was presented with the 2019 Downtowner of the Year Award for its outstanding community support and service to Downtown revitalization. This award began in 1984.
The store donated to several community events and groups in 2019, including the Street Performer Festival, Salvation Army’s Christmas Hamper program and their Good Buy to Hunger campaign.
Executive Director Wendy Bosch reported on several initiatives:
- Three-year Downtown Revitalization Project – challenges paving the way for a modern, urban district to emerge – enhancing the area as location to live work and do business. The increased density will foster further economic development opportunities
- Phase 4, scheduled for 2021, bringing the revitalization program to a close, will result in further enhancements and opportunities to the City Centre
- Rebranding has included a new website, marketing that has changed to reflect the vibe of an evolving City Centre
- Art in the Alley has produced seven installations to enhance the attractiveness of Downtown
- Customer Appreciation Night expanded opportunities for businesses to showcase themselves
- New multi-use building scheduled to open in the spring on former York Hotel site, demolition will occur soon on the Park Hotel, paving the way for a further development project
- Partnership with City of Grande Prairie and Rotary Club of Grande Prairie resulted in purchase of a much-needed Homeless Daytime Shelter
- Skating oval created on Montrose site to promote winter activities and a festival
Member Affairs and Beautification Committee
Committee Chair Kristina MacNeil provided highlights of the past year – the new website, flowers and planters, including a new winter planter initiative, the opportunity to grow the Gift Card promotion, an update on street, sidewalk, tree and planter maintenance, and street/sidewalk cleaning
Other updates touched on social media and radio promotion, winter sidewalk and snow removal, the City Centre entrance sign, the relaunch of the Downtown Association Newsletter, Art Ouellette and Downtowner of the Year Award nominations, and the Façade Improvement Grant
Strategic Directions and Promotions Committee
Committee Chair Grant Berg updated members on the Image Campaign, work the Association has done to address the community’s vulnerable population, the busking program, in collaboration with the Grande Prairie Regional Tourism Association and the Destination Marketing Fund, Art in the Alley adding to the street culture, the Downtown Enhancement Project, Façade and City Centre grants, and Customer Appreciation Night.
Other highlights included:
- The Street Performers Festival
- Bear Creek Folk Music Festival, City Centre Kick-Off Party
- Halloween Walking Parade
- Vegas Night
- The Santa Parade, official tree lighting, live music, and the first ever Battle of the Badges, which raised $8,500 for two children’s charities