June 14th, 2024

Festival Square construction begins today

By Ry Clarke - for the Lethbridge Herald on April 5, 2022.

City of Lethbridge An artist's rendering of the City's Festival Square Market Plaza project.

Construction will begin today along 3 Ave stretching from 4 Street to 8 Street as construction crews work to complete the final phase for Lethbridge’s Downtown Festival Square Market Plaza. During construction 6 Street will be closed to traffic while crews work on the intersection, and motorists are advised to drive with caution and follow posted detours.
Set for completion in June, residents will soon be able to experience a new versatile outdoor market space that will support local producers, artists, and crafters with a place to sell their wares year-round.
Andrew Malcolm, urban revitalization manager for the City of Lethbridge, hopes the Plaza will improve on the space and help with the issues the City encountered in the past.
“Previously, there was no electrical plug-ins in the area. Any sort of power for markets and festivals would have to be run from adjacent businesses with extension cords. So now we will have over 20 plug-ins available to help make that a little bit easier.”
The projects will include an interactive stage along with programmable lighting for performances and music groups. The plaza will create a space for the community offering venues for local markets, while stimulating business for shops already in the area.
Malcolm says “The final completion goal is to have a full market plaza, which would create an environment that facilitates year-round programming for events, community organizations, and local businesses. Whether that’s entertainment on the new stage feature, or farmers markets, or simply just extended outdoor seating for businesses and restaurants to spill out onto.”
City Council voted on the Plaza back in July 2021, 6-3, proceeding with a plan to progress using funding from the Provincial Municipal Stimulus Programs that allocated money for this project, and the renovation of Lethbridge Airport. The project will create an environment that facilitates a year-round market while helping generate more business for shops and restaurants already in the area.
“The economic impact it will have on surrounding businesses will be positive for job creation. Created through the new infrastructure. An example would be The Telegraph, it’s really excited to be able to utilize a portion of this space. And they would be bringing on additional servers in those instances to serve and make sure that everyone is having a good time,” said Malcolm.
The plaza will be open to the public with the City of Lethbridge working on a booking system that can host open mic nights, comedy events, theatrical performances, and live music. The plaza will see more activity in the local economy while giving vendors an opportunity to expand their market.
“We are really excited for this new public plaza space to really stimulate economic recovery in the community. The COVID pandemic has shined new light on the value of those outdoor spaces, especially for eating and community events. So, we’re excited that we’re going to have something new and sophisticated to offer the community,” said Malcolm.

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Year-round market in this climate?! There are already several indoor venues for markets here.

This has been a disaster for 2 years – I hope the City has given all those 6th St businesses a big chunk of cash in exchange for nearly killing several family businesses.