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Marketing grant aimed at supporting downtown businesses during construction

Downtown businesses are hoped to get a bit of a marketing boost during the fourth phase of the City of Grande Prairie’s downtown rehabilitation project. The city has allocated $90,000 from the project’s budget to the Grande Prairie Downtown Association to help with the disruption caused by upcoming construction.

Executive Director Wendy Bosch says over the duration of the project, both businesses and customers will have to cope with the inconveniences posed by construction. Bosch says the balance of keeping businesses happy as well as people coming to the downtown core will ultimately come down to the association’s marketing.

“Nobody likes construction, so we have to create something that is different; create something that is bringing people to the core, not shying them away.”

“Whether we’re using street art or street culture or fun events, giveaways, how we showcase our businesses in the core, all of it is to bring people to the heart of the city, not to send them away,” she says.

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Bosch says some of the piping under the downtown core is as old as having been laid in the 1930’s. She argues ageing infrastructure, both above and underground in the downtown core, is a project that must be addressed through phase four.

“The key is to modernize and bring sustainability to the core. Every city needs a strong centre. It would be fiscally irresponsible for us just to have the city work on the above ground infrastructure only to have to spend more money imminently in the deep infrastructure,” she explains.

The city has committed to completing the fourth stage of revitalization on 100 Avenue from west of 100 Street to 98 Street. A previously discussed 4A phase, which would see 100 Street from north of 99 Street to north of 101 Avenue go under the knife, has not yet been given the go ahead.

Grande Prairie city council has also allocated up to $200,000 in grants for downtown businesses affected by the next phase of construction wanting to make upgrades to their back alleys. The downtown rehabilitation project began back in 2016 and phase four is slated to begin in 2021.

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