June 16th, 2024

Heart of Our City launches Re-Imagine Downtown Activation Grant

By Tim Kalinowski on May 29, 2021.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDtkalinowski@lethbridgeherald.com

The Heart of Our City Committee will be providing $150,000 in grant money to community applicants who can come up with ways to activate vacant or under-utilized spaces in the downtown this summer.
The Re-Imagine Downtown Activation Grant aims to support businesses, entrepreneurs, organizations and community-minded individuals in implementing initiatives, events, and programs.
“We have been continuing to examine how we can have vibrancy and create vibrancy downtown without that ability to have an event or a festival,” says City of Lethbridge urban revitalization manager Andrew Malcolm. “And through this process, we have been thinking more about how we create or leverage dollars to help organizations create safe, exciting opportunities in public spaces– but also expanding them to consider vacant private or commercial spaces because we have seen an increase in vacancy as a result of the pandemic as well.”
“It’s about programming a space,” he adds, “whether that’s a business incubator, allowing some funds to get an entrepreneur set up and running, creating or converting a parking lot into a performance space or arts area. We have purposefully kept it pretty wide open. It’s about whatever is needed for an idea to take shape.”
There will be two application intakes this summer, confirms Malcolm, and the HOC Committee will provide successful applicants up to as much as $25,000 per grant. Malcolm says the City will help work with downtown landowners of vacant spaces or suggest good alternatives where necessary if an idea inspires committee members to provide a grant.
“This is just a little bit of stimulus money to help get people’s ideas off the ground all with the purpose of activating those spaces that are currently either completely vacant or under-utilized,” he says.
And with the province promising more public events this summer, Malcolm says there is also the potential to receive funding from the Re-Imagine Downtown Activation Grant for a permitted event.
“Events and festivals are still eligible within this funding,” he confirms, “and we are really putting that back onto the organizers to build a proposal and identify they can navigate the (public health) restrictions, and understand they are changing all the time. But it also gives a little more runway for folks to think beyond an event or festival, and think more about spaces that can create vibrancy in different ways.”
For more details on Re-Imagine Downtown Activation Grant visit lethbridge.ca/downtownincentives.

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Citi Zen

Ho hum, throw yet more money at downtown. A black hole for money. Downtown is dead. Period. At least until you remove the undesirables that make downtown do uninviting.