Bridging Communities

There’s another new bridge coming to town with a $25 million price tag and a fall 2013 completion date.

Much like the highly publicized Peace Bridge to the west, this new bridge is also set to span the banks of the Bow River, this time connecting Calgary’s East Village to St. Patrick’s Island and then onto the community of Bridgeland. The project is the first step in the revitalization of St. Patrick’s Island after two years of public engagement initiated by the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC).

“When CMLC was created in 2007 we were given the mandate to execute the Rivers District Revitalization Plan. For those of you unfamiliar, the Rivers Revitalization outlines a public infrastructure program which facilitates the reclamation, redevelopment and revitalization of undeveloped inner city areas,” said CMLC president and CEO, Michael Brown. “The plan was needed because much of the east end, as you know, including the East Village and St. Patrick’s Island had been stagnant for many decades, even as other parts of Calgary have continued to flourish.”

Over 6,100 Calgarians provided feedback on the island’s revitalization through meetings, open houses, surveys and a St. Patrick’s Island advisory committee. Feedback included the desire to keep the island unique, consider flexible and multi-use designs, and make the island an all season destination.

The teams selected to help realize that vision are W Architecture out of New York, CIVITAS of Denver and Graham Construction out of Calgary – the firm responsible for the 4th Street underpass.

“Welcome to a small island that has found some big ideas which is something it’s been looking for for a long time,” said Mark Johnson, CIVITAS founder. “We like to provide different kinds of experiences because after all, this island is about putting people and nature together and having that experience which you can’t find on the street downtown.”

The CMLC began a master plan for St. Patrick’s this year following an international design competition for the pedestrian bridge attracting 33 submissions. The project was awarded to RFR out of Paris with the intent the design of the bridge will look like a stone skipping across water.

“St. Patrick’s Bridge is a key piece of infrastructure which is going to improve the connectivity of East Village to Bridgeland,” said Brown. “It’s one of the challenges that East Village has had historically, it’s kind of been on a bit of an island so we need to improve that penetration across the river we’re already starting to see there’s huge interest in the community associations to link up the communities.

Construction has already begun on the project, which, with the completion of the bridge and island development expected to cost $45 million.

“The whole project itself, City Council and the board established a budget in total of $45 million dollars for the bridge and the island redevelopment,” said Brown. “Of that what we’re working towards is a maximum of $25 million as it relates to the bridge, that’s the allocation that we have in our budget in terms to execute that budget.”

The entire project is set to be completed by 2014.

Are you looking forward to the St. Patrick’s Island improvements?

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