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DARC hosts mixer to hear biz voices

By April 14, 2022No Comments
DARC chair Ban Harrison. Taylor Weaver Photo

 

Last Thursday afternoon, the Lloydminster Downtown Area Redevelopment Committee (DARC) hosted a downtown business mixer at The Olive Tree to provide businesses with the opportunity to meet the committee and hear current accomplishments and future plans. 

The committee, led by chairman Ben Harrison, will act as a liaison between downtown businesses and the City of Lloydminster. 

The mixer also provided business owners/operators with the chance to share their thoughts on priorities to advance the Downtown Area Redevelopment Plan (DARP).

“Now that the environment is more supportive of meeting, we wanted to take the opportunity to meet with downtown business owners, property owners and residents, and chat further with them about the future of our downtown,” said Harrison.

Aside from some regularly-scheduled maintenance, the DARC has big ideas for downtown Lloydminster, and it all starts with identifying leadership.

“We have five goals,” he said. “Goal number one is identifying leadership for our downtown. Our committee has opportunities to have discussions about the DARP and about things that happen that aren’t in the DARP, but there are new emerging opportunities … we have opportunities to advise council on those, how we feel, and give opportunities to provide advice.”

The second goal is to increase the number of residents that live in the downtown core. Next is growing and improving existing businesses and non-profits in the core. 

The fourth goal is to have more events happening more often in the downtown.

“Last but not least would be the rejuvenation of the public spaces,” said Harrison, adding how placemaking is a real passion of his. 

“Placemaking could be taking a building, a sidewalk area, a parking lot or empty lot that’s being under-utilized, and working with different partners to find ways to activate that space,” he said.

“Streetfest is a great example of placemaking (because) for one Saturday of the year the streets are closed down and are utilized for shopping, farmer’s markets, food vendors, sidewalk sales, so that’s a great example of placemaking that our community is already familiar with. As a committee, we’re in the process of investigating further placemaking opportunities where we might be able to utilize a parking lot that currently isn’t fully leased. We don’t have anything finalized, but that’s the type of thing we’re working through.”