It’s Regina’s own field of dreams for businesses, residents and the city itself.
On Friday, $33.6M in joint funding was announced for the Railyard Renewal Project to develop 17.5 acres of empty land between the downtown core and the Warehouse District.
“We set our roots down here five years ago in kind of that ‘build it and they will come’ and it looks like it’s going to start filling in around us,” said Mark Heise, President of Rebellion Brewing.
It’s still in the very early days of the 15 to 20 year project to complete the revitalization but Heise said it’s exciting to see funding in place. He called it a giant leap forward toward seeing the concept come to fruition.
The first stage of the project is to transform Dewdney Avenue into a vibrant, pedestrian friendly area. That could include bigger sidewalks for patios, trees and bike lanes.
Heise said Regina is still caught up in a car culture but explains walkability, sustainability and being environmentally friendly is needed to have a thriving downtown.
“You kind of have to be able to show people the reality in that it’s actually really cool and really fun to ride your bike and walk,” said Heise.
Heise said he believes in the value of downtowns and the biggest appeal to him is the possibility of housing to bring people there.
“Having people actually want to live downtown and enjoy that downtown lifestyle, we just don’t have all the facilities and infrastructure where that sounds all that appealing just yet. This is going to change that,” said Heise.
If residential units are built, Heise wants to be the first to buy a condo there.
The public will get the chance to give its input on the Railyard Renewal Project when a concept is presented to council in 2019. Some ideas include an arena, baseball diamond, restaurants, housing, a library and a park.
“Once it becomes a reality, wow, people are going to really embrace it and really be proud of what our city can do and accomplish.”