Red Deer - Alberta's next great city
reprinted from Red Deer Express (Erin Fawcett) July 2, 2008
planner Michael von Hausen said he believes Red Deer is the next
great city in Alberta.
He, along planner Michael Gellar were in Red Deer last week to lead
the community in shaping a vision for downtown.
Over the course of the week they led an evening workshop on the
future of downtown and prepared key urban design concepts for
downtown Red Deer.
Concepts were then displayed for input June 24 and were presented on
"This is an opportunity that many cities would love to be a part
of," said Mayor Morris Flewwelling.
Von Hausen and Geller broke the city's downtown into three
The first district was The Core, which was labelled as a six block
radius in the immediate downtown area.
The planners said with the recent closure of Uptown Cinema, they
envisioned that as a new civic centre where opera and multi-cultural
events could be held.
They also suggested the public parking lot to the east of the
building could be a space where celebrations and big announcements
Von Hausen and Geller discouraged the parkade on top of the transit
terminal saying it would be a negative impact on the downtown core
and should be left as an open space.
Other features in The Core district included gas fireplace features
with seating on street corners and the enhancement of selective
As well, the planners identified more residential surrounding The
The second district was identified as the Railyard district.
This area includes the pedestrian train bridge and the Alpha Dairy
Von Hausen and Geller said they would like to see residential in
that area including ground oriented townhouses and high residential
The green space just south of the pedestrian train bridge could be
used as a park which could hold various community events.
The third district was identified as the River Crossing district.
This area is located south of the Taylor Drive bridge.
Von Hausen and Geller said more residential was needed in this area.
The planners also identified a year round market for the area as
well as a convention centre and hotel and a pedestrian bridge over
the river to Bower Ponds.
Also identified in this area was a 50,000 sq. ft. building called
The Ark which would include a tropical garden with a 200 ft. tall
observation tower in which you could see the whole city.
"Overall we want to encourage unique shops with international
flavour, a cultural arts centre and galleries," said von Hausen.
"We ultimately want to slow down traffic in the downtown and review
the parking requirements and usage."
He added he would like to see the creation on continuous sidewalks
with trees planted on either side of the street and landscaped
"We could also introduce a historic bus trolley that would move
along Alexander Way down to the river front," said von Hausen.
He added this vision is up to the residents of Red Deer to
"This is your future. This is your choice," said von Hausen.
This summer a consulting team and steering committee will create a
draft of the Downtown Action Plan as well as a feasibility study
based on the information gathered by von Hausen and Geller.
It is expected a draft plan will be presented for public feedback in
Once refined, that plan will be presented to city council for
approval and implementation.