On March 12, Thrive and REAP hosted The City of Calgary’s Main Streets team for a conversation about making Calgary’s main streets better places for communities and local business. More than 50 people from our network joined in this engaging discussion. We brought local economic development ideas to issues and opportunities faced by streets like Edmonton Trail NE, Bowness Road NW, and 1 Avenue NE recognizing that a vibrant local economy is the one most likely to bring prosperity to everyone.
We heard about a number of issues faced by small businesses and communities:
- There is a shortage of affordable space suitable for innovative businesses, community and non-profit use
- Some main streets don’t currently have ideal infrastructure. For example, there’s a need for wider sidewalks, safer crosswalks, more frequent transit and easy-to-find parking
- The mix of businesses and housing options don’t always support a thriving and active main street experience
We heard about main streets as opportunities for local success:
- Main streets can be a great place for new, unique, and independent business concepts
- There is a strong demand for more creativity in neighbourhood gathering places from plazas to patios
- Main streets are a smart place to locate affordable housing
We heard about visions and outcomes for the future of Calgary’s main streets:
- These streets should be the heart of their communities and destinations for all Calgarians
- Community and business should thrive along our main streets
- Businesses and residents alike want to live, work, and play in and around main streets in their neighbourhoods.
Thanks again to those of you who were able to contribute to the conversation. The City’s Main Streets team will be back out in Calgary communities with a round of open houses from April 21 to May 13. Learn what Calgarians have been saying about their main streets. Share your perspective for thriving main streets in our city with planners and developers from the City of Calgary. For more information, visit calgary.ca/mainstreets. Together we can create thriving main streets for local businesses and community residents alike.