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reprinted from Red Deer Advocate (Brenda Kossowan) August 10, 2010
Promenade would connect facilities located between Alexander Way and Rotary Recreation Park under concept plan

A promenade connecting various recreation, sporting and culture facilities will form the spine of a major overhaul planned for southeast side of Red Deer's downtown.

The city's recreation, parks and culture department has now spent most of the $200,000 allotted to create a long term plan that knits together the various facilities located between Alexander Way and the Rotary Recreation Park.

While still subject to City Council's approval, the plan provides a framework for creating a network of facilities that will meet a wide variety of needs within the community, said recreation superintendent Kay Kenny.

City Council is to decide what direction to take with the plan during its regular meeting on Aug. 23, said Kenny.

The five phases of the overall plan begin with construction of a promenade between the Golden Circle and the arena facilities at the south end of what is being called the South Area Site, architect Craig Webber of Group 2 Architecture Engineering told the crowd of 80 to 100 people who gathered on Monday evening for a first look at the proposal.

One of the key features of the promenade is that, along with linking the site to the city's network of walkways and parking lots, it would provide improved access to popular public market held on Saturday mornings throughout the growing season, said Webber.

Most of the vendors and exhibitors would be able to move out of the parking lot where the market is now held and place their booth along the promenade, meaning people attending the market would have access to more of the parking spaces on the site and throughout the city centre, he said.

Along with the promenade, plans include creating a large green are immediately south of the Alexander Way, which would require moving the speedskating oval, horseshoe pits and bowling greens to other sites.

While a new horseshoe and lawn bowling site would be placed in the southeastern area of the site, the speedskating oval would be removed altogether and rebuilt elsewhere in the city, he said.

The proposed plan also allows for expansion of the tennis, skateboarding and aquatic facilities and assumes that the curling club's facilities will eventually be combined with the Red Deer Arena into a large ice facility.

Future plans assume that the Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery, already squeezed for space, will eventually find a new home and that the existing building will then be "re-purposed" for the Golden Circle, said (Colleen) Jensen (Director of Community Services).

A number of people raised concerns about the impact the plan would have on parking within the site and neighbouring areas, especially when major events take place. Their concerns included worries about participants taking up residential spots in Parkvale. Jensen said those sorts of details are to be worked out over time.

"I want to reiterate that this is a concept plan, not a detailed plan, and I understand that there is some discomfort in that. So, this gives an overview in terms of what can happen," said Jensen.

People have said they don't want to see a sea of parking, she said. On the other hand, they want to be able to park in front of the facilities they use.

"Think what the city is going to look like in 25 years time. We are going to need to put a very sound strategy in place in terms of addressing all of the things you are talking about," she said.

Jensen and Webber invited people to full out comment cards for a final report to be included when the plan is presented for Council's approval.

News articles related to historic downtown Red Deer redevelopment
(the original vision of the Forth Junction Heritage Society included an attraction in the new downtown
Riverlands but this vision was modified to have one destination close to the city and active rail line):

       Commentary: The Greater Downtown Action Plan progress and potential (Red Deer Express May 2013)
       News article: Riverlands development ready for debate
(Red Deer Advocate Sep.2011)
       News article: Railyards: Open house on a 20-year plan for downtown
(Red Deer Advocate June 2011)
       News article: Riverlands: Strong turnout for open house
(Red Deer Advocate March 2011)
       Commentary: Red Deer could use more bold visionary landmark designers
(Red Deer Express Sep.2010)
       Editorial: Time for downtown vision
(Red Deer Advocate July 2010)
       News article: Big expectations for downtown Red Deer (Red Deer Advocate June 2009)
       News article: Chance of a lifetime (Red Deer Advocate Jan.2009)
       Editorial: No San Antonio but hope left for Big Wow (Red Deer Express Nov.2008)
       News article: Canal plan jettisoned (Red Deer Express Nov.2008)
       News article: Red Deer - Alberta's next great city (Red Deer Express July 2008)

Downtown Red Deer Ground Transportation Themes

The proposed promenade and expansion of Rotary Recreation Park is on a site that was once part of the Canadian National Railway line in Red Deer:

Canadian Northern Western Railway Brazeau sub (CNR) - Mirror to Red Deer and Nordegg
Canadian National Railway operated in downtown Red Deer from 1920 to 1960

Michael Dawe articles related to CNR heritage in Red Deer
       A look at the Canadian Northern Railway (Red Deer Express Jan.2011)
       Rail relocation project a first in Western Canada (Red Deer Advocate June 2010)
       Rotary Recreation Park area a jewel in heart of city (Red Deer Express Aug.2009)

Michael Dawe articles related to railway heritage of downtown Red Deer:
       Looking back to when Red Deer landed city status (Red Deer Express March 2013)
       Prosperous times for New Year's, 1912 in Red Deer
(Red Deer Express Dec.2011)
       An early community landmark - the Michener Fountain (Red Deer Express June 2011)
       Lots of street name debate in City's history (Red Deer Express Sep.2010)
       Region celebrating century of railroad heritage (Red Deer Express March 2010)
       CPR Station Park once shining jewel of Red Deer (Red Deer Express June 2009)
Canadian Pacific Railway Bridge now 100 years old (Red Deer Advocate June 2009) 
       Red Deer's downtown hotels have celebrated history
(Red Deer Express June 2009)
       The history of Red Deer's CPR station
(Red Deer Express April 2007)
       Red Deer becomes a divisional point for CPR
(Red Deer Advocate Special March 2007)



 News articles about the Forth Junction Heritage Society:
World-class destination centre still in the works 11/13       Praise today's big dream 01/12       Forth Junction targets county 12/11 
Forth Junction pulling toward a new station
12/11        A volunteer on the right track 12/10        Tourism board supports rail project 10/10
Forth Junction rail project seeking charitable status
10/10        Rail tourist attraction idea gets rolling 07/10        Railway heritage 06/10
New idea for Riverlands worth an Olympic cheer 02/10       Happy to hear more talk on large-scale attractions 02/10
One-time opportunity 02/10       Tourism proposal facing obstacles 02/10       World-class attraction proposed for Riverlands 02/10

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