June 22nd, 2024

Heart of the City grants looking for downtown initiatives

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on March 16, 2023.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

Imagine a downtown filled with people who are not just shopping, but dancing, eating, playing and just having a great time.

If you can imagine it, then it can happen, and the City of Lethbridge is looking for people with great imaginations who want to take advantage of a grant program that provides financial support for initiatives, events, and programs that make the downtown area come alive with activity.

“We’re looking for new, fresh ideas, things out of the box,” says Lorien Johansen, chairperson of the Heart of the City Committee.

Johansen announced Wednesday at City Hall the opening of the Re-imagine Downtown Activation Grant, which this year will provide a total of $120,000 for individuals and groups interested in coming up with imaginative initiatives, particularly focusing on underutilized downtown spaces.

Johansen said the program aims to build on the success of the previous two years of the Re-imagine grant program, which is to provide new initiatives that will attract people to, and strengthen, the downtown.

Last year, for example, one of the recipients was Hootenanny 2022, which brought to the downtown a free, month-long outdoor theatrical production in Galt Gardens.

Another recipient of grant money was the Lethbridge Jazz Society, which offered a series of live music events in the downtown, showcasing local, provincial, and Canadian artists.

This year applicants can request up to $10,000 per initiative, event, or program, all of which should align with the vision and direction of the Heart of Our City Master Plan.

Proposed initiatives should also present fun and innovative ideas that generate community participation and engagement; transform or breathe new life into vacant or underutilized public or private spaces, making them attractive, inviting, inclusive, and safe; create opportunities for people to safely connect with the downtown neighbourhood; showcase the downtown; enhance the creativity, connection and local identity of the downtown and Lethbridge; encourage links between community, arts, culture, recreation, business, and tourism; and promote environmental sustainability, as well as inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility.

Although the Re-imagine Downtown grant application process closes on April 14, the program aims to support initiatives throughout the year, starting as early as this summer.

With the recent loss to fire of a couple of downtown historical buildings, the Lethbridge Hotel and Bow On Tong building, Johansen said the grant program and resulting initiatives will bring a positive atmosphere to the area and get rid of the negative vibe.

Interested applicants can find the eligibility and evaluation information, as well as the application form by logging onto lethbridge.ca/downtownincentives. Successful applicants will be notified on or before April 28.

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“…..Imagine a downtown filled with people who are not just shopping, but dancing, eating, playing and just having a great time….”
What part of get rid of the addicts and people will return do you not get?
Stop burning up our tax dollars.
You gave up Galt Gardens to the addicts and gave us a little Festive Square so you cater to the addicts and we get screwed, thrown crumbs!
We already see people shoplifting, dancing in the streets high on drugs, even stripping, eating the food that some non-profit just gave and throwing the containers on the ground, playing their scratch and wins and just having a high time!
What part do you not get? People feel threatened coming downtown and they are tired of having their car damaged or broken into.
Just last night a young First Nations man tried jumping in front of a pass and then kicked the side of it when the driver veered into the oncoming lanes to avoid hitting him. He was suicidal and then went around damaging property, with an ambulance trying to get him and after about 1 hour, police became involved and had to take him down when he assaulted the lone member. Then of course, his girlfriend who was also obviously high on something, tookd her camera and started to video it, saying ‘we am watching you’ and trying to make it look like the police officer was at fault, finally help arrived to back-up the officer and the 3 of the group took off while the girl continued to video them saying we are watching. The ambulance was staged 1/2 block away but the person kept screaming, without cause, and trying to break free.
Whatever drug he was on gave him extra strength and I feel for the officers.
This is just one of the cases where police will be happy when they all have body cameras and the false accusations will easily be proven false.
One person on drugs took 2 EMS and 4 police officers off of other duties!
This in not unique! For those who want to defund the police – MOVE to China!


Just another day in Paradise! Our family has had to witness similar events, not to mention break and enters into our home and shed in London Road. We are moving into our new home during the Easter break, away from this sad city, now that our house has sold. Our funds are not going to be wasted on the addicts, revitalization, projects to attract people when it will not work.
They ignore the reasons why people won’t go downtown because they are blind and deaf. They will no longer squander our hard-earned money! It’s better to just pour fuel on the money and let it burn since it will fail!
What a costly mistake and valuable lesson learned in our short stay!