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RFD- 3274 Presentations   Item #:   2. f.    
Committee of the Whole Meeting Agenda
Meeting Date: 04/16/2018  
Title:    Draft City Centre Area Redevelopment Plan - Walker
Department: Economic & Business Development  
Strategic Vision Element: This topic relates to all three of the City’s strategic vision elements contained in Council’s Strategic Plan Related Goal: Spruce Grove has a robust, growing economic base that generates balanced revenues to support the City’s high standards for services and programs.

Information
Request for Decision Summary
Cushing Terrell Architecture, as the lead consultant, will be making a presentation on an early draft of the City Centre Area Redevelopment Plan to update Council and obtain feedback.
 
Proposed Motion
 
That the presentation on the draft City Centre Area Redevelopment Plan be received as information.
 
 
 
Background/Analysis
Cushing Terrill Architecture (CTA) was the successful proponent in a Request for Proposals initiated by the City to prepare an Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP) for the City Centre.  This is a joint initiative between the City and the City Centre Business Association (CCBA).  As part of the workplan, there is a major public consultation component to obtain input and feedback from businesses and property-owners in the City Centre as well as other interested parties and residents in the broader community.  The cost of the study is $150,000 with $50,000 coming from an Alberta CARES grant submitted jointly by the City and CCBA.  

CTA will be making a presentation to City Council on the work undertaken to date for the purpose of providing information and receiving feedback.  The process will be to complete the study and return to Council for approval of a draft ARP by fall 2018.  The presentation will be given by Wayne Freeman, Principal-In-Charge and Kieron Hunt, Project Manager – Urban Design.  A copy of their presentation is attached (Attachments 1 (Infrastructure) and 2 (Land Use and Urban Form). 
 
BACKGROUND
 
The preparation of a City Centre Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP) was recommended in the City Centre Revitalization Discussion Paper completed in June 2014 and was subsequently approved by City Council as part of the 2017-19 Corporate Plan.
 
It was recognized that City Centre revitalization is a long-term process and will require a consistent vision and support to be successful.  This area is the oldest part of Spruce Grove and has experienced, like many other downtowns, a migration of business to the new shopping centres and commercial areas outside the core.  The 1997 Downtown Development Action Strategy was an earlier attempt to address these issues but met with limited success due to the lack of business support and its focus on streetscaping. 
 
This ARP is intended to be the start of a more indepth process to re-energize the City Centre as a gathering place and focal point for the community.  The City sponsored a series of Visioning Workshops in September 2016 to receive public input on what residents would like the City Centre to become.  The business community has taken ownership of the initiative and wants to partner with the City in bringing about change. 
 
The ARP is intended to provide a conceptual framework and master plan for the revitalization and redevelopment of the City Centre in Spruce Grove.  This will set out a multi-year approach that will address required infrastructure improvements, recommended urban design and form, policy and bylaw changes, and program support.  An ARP can provide greater certainty for investors and businesses in attracting new investment as well as supporting the cultural revitalization of the City Centre. 
 
The ARP is a statutory document under the Municipal Government Act once approved by City Council and the required amendments made to the Municipal Development Plan and Land Use Bylaw.  The ARP study will address transportation and transit options as part of this process and will identify specific capital initiatives required to support the plan.  
 
 
CITY CENTRE BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT AREA
 
City Council approved the establishment of the City Centre Business Improvement Area (BIA) in August 2016.  This was in response to a petition by businesses in the City centre area to establish a BIA for the purpose of revitalizing the downtown.  The process followed the requirements set out in the Municipal Government Act and Regulations.  There are approximately 130 businesses registered within the BIA boundaries. 
 
The City Centre is a large area bounded by Calahoo Road to the west, Highway 16A to the south, Broxton School to the east, and an irregular shaped border to the north that runs along Church Avenue and extends down King Street on the Park commercial plaza.  Columbus Park is often identified as the main hub of the City Centre.  Businesses within the BIA recognize this park as an underused amenity for staging community gatherings that provide an economic spin-off to the area.  They also recognize its capacity limitations due to its outdated design.
 
The operating entity for the BIA is the City Centre Business Association which has an elected Board of Directors including a City Council representative.  The Association also has a part-time Executive Director.  The focus of the Association to this point has been to sponsor events such as the Public Markets at Columbus Park and WinterFest to bring residents into the City Centre area.  These events have been very successful and demonstrate an appetite to support the City Centre as a major community gathering site.  
 
BOUNDARIES FOR THE ARP
 
The boundaries for the ARP study area are shown on the attached map (Attachment 3).  The study follows a two-tiered approach with all the deliverables applying to the Core Study Area and only land use designations and Land Use Bylaw review for the Shadow Study Area.  For context, the map also shows the City Centre boundaries for the BIA and the Municipal Development Plan.    

TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR THE ARP
 
The Terms of Reference for the City Centre ARP are split into four main components as follows:
 
  1.  Municipal Infrastructure Assessment
 
This will focus on the key infrastructure including the water distribution network, waste water network, storm water collection network, street lighting and signals, sidewalks (including pedestrian walkability patterns), bike access and furniture, traffic control and roadways as part of the City Centre Area Redevelopment Plan. 
 
This Master Plan will need to determine the state of the infrastructure and the current level of service provided, while determining required improvements to meet the needs of the community both at our current levels and future growth potential levels. 
 
  1. Land Use, Urban Form and Design
 
The deliverables are (a) to prepare a draft City Centre Area Redevelopment Plan that meets the requirements set out in Section 635 of the Municipal Government Act and (b) to assess and propose an Urban Design that includes consideration of the future built form, architectural guidelines, streetscape, landscaping and parking.  This will encompass the overall look and feel of infill and redevelopment opportunities for the following components - Buildings, Streetscape and Landscape.
 
  1. Columbus Park Redesign
 
The objective is to develop a concept plan which provides a new vision for the existing Columbus Park as a core feature of future redevelopment in the study area.  The focus will be on what improvements are needed to create a public square/gathering space that has the flexibility and appeal to host a wide range of events and draw people to the City Centre. 
 
  1. Assessment Uplift Forecast
 
A model will be developed to measure the assessment uplift that results from redevelopment and higher property values for the City Centre.  Substantial capital expenditures will be required by the City for infrastructure and other improvements.  These should be seen as an investment that the City can recover over a number of years through higher value properties that result from the redevelopment efforts.  This is over and above the contribution that a revitalized City Centre can bring to the life and culture of the community. 
 
 
Options/Alternatives
Without an Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP), it is unlikely that much will change in the City Centre.  The existing Municipal Development Plan and Land Use Bylaw create a regulatory framework that often makes it difficult to develop viable projects in the City Centre area.  As well, the lack of a consistent urban landscape and design standards increases the risk for developers in conceptualizing how their project will fit into the area, what future development will look like, and  in the absence of an overall plan, whether there is sufficient commitment from the City to sustain revitalization efforts in the City Centre.  
Consultation/Engagement
Cushing Terrill Architecture (CTA), as part of their engagement, are required to undertake and manage an interactive public engagement process.  This includes the following requirements: 

1. Design, populate and maintain a project website to provide current information, status updates and engagement opportunities. 

2. Organize and conduct public input sessions in the early stages of the project and then a follow-up session to obtain feedback at the draft report stage.  For the draft ARP, public participation and notification must meet the requirements of Section 636(1) of the Municipal Government Act. 

3. Provide a social media plan to raise public awareness of the project and encourage engagement. 

4. Provide a consultation plan for working with the City Centre Business Association (CCBA) and City Departments. This is being accomplished in part by a steering committee to oversee the project comprised of representatives from the City (Economic Development, Planning, Engineering and Cultural Services) and the CCBA.  
Implementation/Communication
Cushing Terrill Architecture (CTA) will be presenting the results of the infrastructure assessment and an overview of the design concepts they are working with for redevelopment of the City Centre.  Their intention at this stage is to obtain feedback and input before coming forward with recommendations in a final report.  This provides an opportunity to discuss other ideas as well before the Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP) is brought forward for Council approval later this year.  Once approved by Council, the ARP will be implemented through amendments to the Municipal Government Plan and Land Use Bylaw.  Where City expenditures are required, these will be introduced through the corporate planning process.  
Impacts
Substantial capital expenditures will be required over time by the City for infrastructure and other improvements.  These should be seen as an investment that the City can recover over a number of years through increased assessment resulting from new investment and redevelopment of lower value to higher value properties.  This is over and above the contribution that a revitalized City Centre can bring to the life and culture of the community. 

Attachments
City Centre ARP - Infrastructure Assessment
City Centre ARP - Land Use and Urban Form
City Centre Revitalization Zone Map

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