Main Street might be getting a facelift, but the breezeways connecting parking areas to the street are going to be staying in the same condition, at least until 2017.
Following a request from the Downtown Revitalization Committee, council voted to have city staff research the cost of improving the connecting passages.
Mitch Moroziuk, director of operations, said there is a limited budget for maintaining the breezeways.
“We have provided a response back to the committee in terms of what we do,” said Moroziuk.
Coun. Judy Sentes contended the breezeways are key components for downtown, and the committee’s desire went beyond maintenance, to improving their condition, making them more user friendly and safer.
“The idea isn’t just for cleaning, it was to make it more inviting,” said Coun Campbell Watt, who also wanted to see signage installed so drivers would know where they were in relation to the businesses they wanted to patronize. It would help create a new culture for parking, he explained.
”You don’t have to drive around the block five times,” he said. “You can actually park two seconds away from it and walk a very short distance.”
Making the breezeways more attractive, inviting and safer helps create that avenue, Watt said.
“That was the idea, it wasn’t just to make it clean,” said Watt.
Mayor Andrew Jakubeit suggested it might be better if the committee was more specific in the information they wanted, such as lighting or painting.
“Those would be big wins, and perhaps a little more focused for staff to come back and say it’s in our budget, it is in our things-to-do box, or things to bring forward to budget,” said Jakubeit.
Moroziuk noted there seem to be two main issues with the breezeways: lighting and cleanliness.
”One is an operating budget item, one is a capital budget item,” said Moroziuk. “As part of the lighting, it is also painting and making it a more pleasant atmosphere when you are walking through there.”
Council voted to pass the committee’s recommendation as written, and direct city staff to provide the research the committee requested.