The ongoing work to revitalize Swift Current’s downtown area will continue this construction season with the next phase of the paving stone project for sidewalks.
Councillors approved the 2020 downtown paving stone contract during a regular council meeting on May 4, which took place via video conference.
The City sent out a request for quotes to three local contractors, but received only one submission by DoneRite Contracting. This company successfully completed the previous downtown paving stone projects.
DoneRite Contracting submitted a quote of $143,828 (PST included, GST excluded) for this year’s paving stone contract, which was accepted by council.
This year’s work will complete the installation of paving stones with a modern design on the 100 block of 1st Avenue NE. Last year’s contract revitalized the east side of this block and now the work will continue on the west side of the same street block.
City officials provided details about the project during a video conference media briefing after the council meeting.
“The priority has been around the central part of the downtown area, sort of anchored by Market Square and the Centennial Plaza and Chaplin Street along the way,” City General Manager of Infrastructure and Operations Mitch Minken said. “That's been the first area of focus as we've been building this out. Last year the 100 block of 1st Avenue NE had some stormwater align work done as well, and that lead to the decision to pick that for last year. So sometimes it fits into other work and sometimes it fits into the priorities of the project, and this year's priorities have been around Market Square and Centennial Plaza.”
The work along the west side of the 100 block of 1st Avenue NE was scheduled to start on May 11, which will result in traffic closures and restrictions along this section of the street.
This year’s paving stone contract also includes the revitalization of the Frank Rempel Centennial Plaza portion of the Market Square district.
“The sidewalks adjacent to the plaza itself will be replaced as part of the first stage and then the entire plaza where the pavement exists today around the Centennial pillars and around the Rempel monument will all be removed and replaced,” he said. “So it will all be paving stone and brand new sidewalks in that corner.”
The pattern of the paving stones for the plaza will be different from the design used for the paving stones along the sidewalks in the downtown area. The intention is to use the different design to distinguish the Centennial Plaza and Market Square area from the rest of the downtown area.
“It’s a little different scale of the blocks as well,” Minken noted. “They're a little longer, the same colouring, but a little different size and a little longer than the ones we used in the sidewalks.”
The different paving stone designs fit in with the overall goals of the downtown master plan and the Centennial Market District concept plans, which were developed as an initiative to revitalize the downtown area.
The paving stone designs help to distinguish different parts of the downtown area, but also creates connectivity between these areas.
“A few years ago we went through a whole masterplan for our downtown, where we had consultants in and we had a lot of meetings with the downtown business core merchants to just have a vision for our downtown,” City General Manager of Planning and Development Marty Salberg said. “We developed a downtown master plan, which incorporated the streetscape design, the sidewalk design, the types of plants and street furniture as well as what would be supported and looked forward to in terms of the facades of downtown buildings and those types of things.”
He noted that this process resulted in the establishment of the City’s Main Street program to assist downtown businesses with building facade upgrades. It also included the installation of a large sign at the flag court along Central Avenue North to welcome visitors to the downtown area.
“So we're looking forward to a real vibrant downtown and all these things form part of that vibrancy,” he said. “Of course, having strong businesses is the core, but I do know that when I talk to other people who are looking to invest in Swift Current, our downtown core is certainly one thing they always speak highly off.”
It will still take several years to complete this paving stone project for the downtown area, and the progress will depend on how much work can be done each construction season.
“The downtown district is a large area and we're proceeding with about a side of a block or two sides of a block a year,” Minken noted. “So if we don't accelerate it somewhere along the way and do a little more work, it's going to take a long time to get completed. These are the early stages of it, where we're trying to establish the standard and the pattern and invest as we can, and down the road we may have to invest a little larger to get it done a little quicker.”