Civic esplanade plans lay out major revamp for downtown Windsor
Windsor city councillors will soon be weighing in on plans for a revamped civic esplanade that would transform the area from city hall to the Detroit River.
The plans call for a new ice rink, a stage, flexible meeting places, an arts park as well as a viewing area tied to the Underground Railroad monument on Pitt Street and linked to the one in Detroit.
"We need to be able to give all of our residents some fun, some healthy outdoor leisurely activities," said Coun. Renaldo Agostino, who chairs the City Hall Square Plaza Project Steering Committee.
Agostino says the project would be vital in drawing people downtown, but Coun. Fred Francis, who likes the concept drawings, believes the city needs to spend money on other infrastructure first.
"I have to stay consistent and hold true to what I believe in and and I just believe the money could be spent better elsewhere, and specifically on fixing our roads," said Francis, who says he gets complaints about the roads routinely from residents.
Coun. Angelo Marignani, who also sits on the committee, sees Francis' point of view but still believes the project is needed.
"As far as the priority of our city administration is to look after the commons, which include our roads, our sewers, and our parks, and so this falls under the common use areas," said Marignani.
Residents CBC News talked to like the project plans.
"I am exciting to see the new project coming downtown," said Perm Nanick.
"To me it makes sense because it's not much space for skating at Charles Clark Square and since they plan on expanding the green space, it makes sense to make something [for] skating and everything else," said Lloyd Reid.
The director of the landscape architecture studio at FORRED Ltd., which created the plans, calls the project Light the Path. Cindi Rowan says a number of people in the community were consulted on what they want before the plans were put together.
"They really wanted a flexible space and Charles Clark Square that could be just used on a daily basis and have some nice places for people to spend time, have their lunch and so on, but that could also be combined for larger gatherings," said Rowan.
The plans will go before city council on May 29. It's expected the cost of the project will be made clear then.