The former Regina railyard could soon be transformed from gravel and train tracks into a vibrant new community space with room for housing, green space and businesses.
Regina Mayor Michael Fougere was joined by Saskatchewan Government Relations Minister Warren Kaeding to announce $33.6 million in joint funding for the infrastructure project.
The funding for the Regina Revitalization Initiative Railyard Renewal Project will be split evenly between all three levels of government and will go towards cleaning up the site, installing utility infrastructure and developing public spaces like a park.
Canadian Pacific Railway moved operations out of the city to the Global Transportation Hub several years ago. As a result, 17.5 acres of land in the heart of Regina has been virtually unused space.
While the rail lines will still go through the site, the remaining space will be redeveloped to offer potential diverse housing options and commercial opportunities.
The first stage of the highly anticipated project is to redevelop Dewdney Avenue to be more pedestrian friendly.
“The idea is that you have a street that is actually welcoming. Dewdney Avenue now, is not so welcoming. It needs some tender loving care,” said Mayor Michael Fougere.
The improvements could include wider sidewalks, crosswalks, a buffer zone between the sidewalk and the road with trees and a potential future bike path. Some of the early work will start in 2019 with the major transformation in 2020.
Fougere hopes to see more patios on top of a good restaurant and music scene as a result.
Future plans over the next 15 to 20 years include building a new pedestrian bridge linking the Warehouse District to the downtown and developing the big empty rail yard.
A concept plan will be presented to council in 2019 to get an idea of what could be built. Fougere said the project will reflect the priorities of the community with a strong emphasis on public input. There could be anything including an arena, baseball diamond, restaurants, libraries, housing and a park.
“I think every city would envy having this opportunity to make something happen here that’s unique,” said Fougere.
The federal and provincial governments along with the City of Regina are each contributing $11.2 million to the project through the New Building Canada Fund. The city will be responsible for remaining costs.