DARP consultation to forge future of Lacombe’s core

The City of Lacombe has begun an engagement process with residents and businesses to guide the Downtown Area Redevelopment Plan’s (DARP)future. After replacing the Heart of Town Plan (1999) in 2013, DARP emerged as a vision for how development in Lacombe’s historic downtown would proceed.

The DARP, in essence, is a response to the steady growth and redevelopment pressure facing the downtown.

The original document resulted in several successful projects and outcomes, including:

•Land Use Bylaw Amendments

•The Heritage Preservation Program

•Creating a Downtown Market•Music in the Park at the LMC

•Improvements to 50 Avenue (Main Street Program)

•Enhancements to Lest We Forget Park

•New Public Art

Lacombe City Council has earmarked $1.7 million over the next ten years towards DARPprojects. These funds will support the next phase of the plan, and City staff will be consulting with citizens on how to invest these funds.

“Lacombe City Council is pleased to be able to help guide the future development of our historic downtown with this investment,” said City of Lacombe Mayor Grant Creasey. “The previous phase of the DARP proved to be an invaluable tool to guide development in our core, while still maintaining the character of our community. I look forward to seeing how our community decides to shape our downtown as we advancet hrough the engagement phase.”

Future development will follow the Guiding Principles of DARP, which include:

1.Walkable and accessible streets

2.Unique look and vibe downtown

3.Year-round outdoor gathering space

4.Preserve and/or reuse heritage structures

5.Inclusive housing choices downtown

6.Revitalized buildings that complement our historic roots

7.Expand our signature main street

8.Centralize more City services

9.Bring more of the Arts downtown

10.Support tourism opportunities.

To prioritize funding, city staff will be asking residents and businesses to have their say in several ways – starting with a survey, which you can complete here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/5P359SR.

After administration analyzes the survey results, the city will conduct a series of workshops with a new DARP Advisory Committee in 2021. This committee will use the survey results to help create a document informing council and administration on how to proceed with the DARP plan including funding allocation recommendations.

“City staff are pleased to implement the latest DARP engagement phase,” said Operations and Planning Services Director Jordan Thompson. “By gaining insight into how the community wants the downtown area to develop – administration can move forward with a clear understanding of how to utilize these newly budgeted funds.”

If you are passionate about our Downtown and wish to be considered for the DARP committee, please submit your contact information via the survey. You can log on to www.lacombe.ca/DARP for more information.

Wikipedia photo