La Ronge to take on downtown revitalization project

·2 min read

Beginning this year, the Town of La Ronge is embarking on an ambitious plan to revitalize its downtown, bring new life to the local waterfront and make it a place where people will want to gather.

La Ronge, located about 250 kilometres north of Prince Albert on the edge of the Canadian Shield, is home to about 2,500 people.

Chief administrative officer Lyle Hannan said the revitalization plan could bring helpful upgrades for downtown businesses.

“Right now, there are a number of older buildings downtown,” he said. ”I think there is a desire to look at ways to help the business community improve the facades of the buildings and make some infrastructure improvements.

“We’re also looking at simple initiatives, whether that be banners and flowers or outdoor patios and improved lighting and other things to improve the look of the downtown.”

He hopes people get more out of the area and stick around, he said.

“Currently, most people come in and use the park or come in and go shopping or eat at a specific restaurant, and then they leave. And we’d like to see people congregating and enjoying the downtown.”

The project is still in the early stages, but people are already bringing up ideas that would appeal to tourists as well as locals, he added.

“We’re investigating possible new developments, like a marina, as a means of making the downtown more vibrant. We have an amazing waterfront here — that’s one of our assets. The idea is ultimately to bring more people to the area, whether they’re from outside the community or inside the community.”

The town is seeking proposals from consulting teams to help with the project. The deadline is Sept. 2.

Hannan said the town is looking for qualified firms that have experience with urban planning and downtown revitalization projects, and are also skilled in community consultation.

He said there will soon be an opportunity for locals to put their names forward to sit on the project’s steering committee.

Though the project is just getting started, Hannan said he thinks the town can start to make and execute a plan “within the next year or so,” and he looks forward to the positive impact it could.

“This will not only improve the aesthetic of the downtown, but address issues like business retention and attract new economic opportunities,” he said.

Julia Peterson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The StarPhoenix