The City and the Alberta Avenue community’s collaboration to improve streets, businesses and green spaces has won national recognition.
The Alberta Avenue Revitalization Initiative is a winner on many levels: improved sidewalks and streets, updated storefronts, new businesses and festivals; and now, a national award.
The Institute of Public Administration in Canada/Deloitte Public Sector Leadership bronze award for municipalities was presented to the City of Edmonton in Toronto on Nov. 5. The award recognizes organizations that have demonstrated outstanding leadership by taking bold steps to improve Canada, through advancements in public policy and management.
“This award is a tribute to the many people who recognized this neighbourhood’s potential and took action, and continue to take action, to transform the area,” said Ward 3 Councillor Tony Caterina.
“The success of the Alberta Avenue Initiative lies in the cooperative and collaborative way in which citizens, administration and Council worked together to make changes happen on 118 Avenue,” said Ward 3 Councillor Ed Gibbons.
“In accepting this award, we gratefully acknowledge the many leadership contributions made by community, business, City administration and City Council to the Alberta Avenue Revitalization Initiative,” says Kathy Barnhart, Branch Manager, Neighbourhood and Community Development with Community Services.
The Alberta Avenue Revitalization Initiative began in 2005, following a request by area residents for better lighting on 118 Avenue. The area had fallen into disrepair, and crime was an issue. The area’s ward councillors knew that better street lighting would help, but more had to be done to help turn the neighbourhood around.
Through public consultation, residents and business owners created a vision for the community they want their neighbourhood to become: an area with safe streets and spaces, strong community life, thriving economy, and environmental well-being.
“The area is really quite beautiful,” says Judy Allan, Alberta Avenue Initiative Project Coordinator. “It is close to downtown and major transportation routes, and is bookended by NAIT at one end, and Edmonton Northlands and Rexall Place at the other. There’s every reason why this area can, and should be, a desirable place to live.”
The emergence of Alberta Avenue as a vibrant arts destination has been a highlight of the community revitalization initiative.
“Everyone involved in transforming Alberta Avenue should be very proud of what has been accomplished,” says Christy Morin, founder of Arts on the Avenue. “People who visit or move here will see the results of what happens when people come together and truly live as a community.”
A community steering committee guides initiatives, and an integrated service team, comprised of staff from all City departments, supports the work. Alberta Avenue’s success story has spawned similar revitalization efforts in Jasper Place, McCauley and McDougall/Queen Mary Park neighbourhoods.
The approach to revitalizing Alberta Avenue is also an example of what the City wants to achieve through the Great Neighbourhoods Initiative: all City departments working together with residents, businesses, community leaders and other stakeholders to shape the future of where we live.
“We see tremendous potential for this to have a sweeping impact on the way in which the City of Edmonton interacts with its citizens, and how citizens can engage in the development and sustainability of their neighbourhoods,” says Ms. Barnhart.