Keeping downtown Lacombe walkable will be key to its future growth, says a city survey.
Nearly 300 people responded to an online survey created as part of a project to update the community’s Downtown Area Redevelopment Plan.
Asked what will have the greatest impact on growth, 53 per cent pointed to walkable and accessible streets as their top choice. Forty-three per cent cited maintaining a unique downtown look and vibe and 38 per cent pointed to revitalizing buildings to reflect Lacombe’s historic roots.
On a similar note, 35 per cent chose preserving and reusing heritage buildings as an important step.
Other suggestions included creating a year-round outdoor gathering space, supporting tourism opportunities, adding more inclusive housing, centralizing city services and bringing more arts downtown.
When asked what their main concerns about the downtown were respondents referred to the need to increase the number and diversity of shops while supporting existing businesses, attracting new ones to fill vacant spaces, and to seek out businesses that remain open on weekends and evenings.
An advisory committee will review the results of the survey and other input gathered from businesses and residents and come up with a series of recommendations.
The city has set aside $1.7 million over 10 years to bankroll downtown-related initiatives.
Jordan Thompson, Lacombe director of operations and planning, said in a city YouTube video it will be interesting to see how the advisory committee interprets survey results and what projects they will propose.
City engineering technologist Phillip Beven said the survey answered the what, where and why questions and the advisory committee will now look at the how and when questions.