The community of Kingsland is in the midst of a pilot project co-funded by The City of Calgary and the Kingsland Community Association (KCA) to spruce up the neighbourhood.
Supporting Partnerships for Urban Reinvestment, or SPUR, is an initiative that sees the public and the City working together with the goal of improving public spaces and quality of life for residents living in overlooked spaces.
Cheryl Herperger is the community recreation co-ordinator with Community and Neighbourhood Services with the City, she explained Kingsland, like a lot of communities on the perimeter of the inner city are getting to be around 50-years-old and in need of a little “TLC”.
“We’re trying to give it a little beautification,” she said. “In Kingsland in particular, why they were chosen is the connectivity. With the Kingsland (Farmers) Market that was brought in there, you cannot actually drive or walk or bike north to south in the community.”
Brandy MacInnis, KCA vice president and planning director said places where revitalization is needed most include parks first built with the construction of the community (in 1957) and pathways showing wear and tear. In 2009, the Kingsland Community Plan was drawn up as a non-statutory document taking a look at — in residents’ opinions — things like what the community should look like in the future as far as what businesses to attract and what areas needed the most revitalization.
The plan was developed with the “understanding the Kingsland residents and business owners direction outlined in this Plan will be respected when development applications are made to the City.”
“We just kept contacting the City, ‘we need to get this fixed, we need to get this fixed’,” said MacInnis. City staff working with the community went to area Alderman Brian Pincott with the suggestion it could a prime candidate for SPUR as a way to get some of Kingsland’s local projects going and in turn Pincott brought the idea forward.
“Little things that make it more vibrant, to have it reflect the people that live here and getting the community and all the different City departments working together … is where the innovation is,” Pincott told CBC News.
“We’re not just going to go in there and do it, we’re going to celebrate these projects with (Kingsland),” said Herperger.
In the fall of last year, the City and the KCA hosted two open houses, one to gather ideas for public space improvements and the other held for residents to prioritize their improvements through an interactive map. As public space improvements were selected by community members, the cost of said improvements would be subtracted from the $227,800 capital budget — more than 130 of these budgets were received and helped inform the final project list.
“It’s been a great process,” said MacInnis “It’s been a learning process as any pilot is so there’ll be some great points to highlight … (and) some things that have been identified to help future things go smoothly.”
The final SPUR budget will first be presented to the Priorities and Finance Committee before heading to council this spring.