As part of his leadership platform, Mayoral candidate Christian Provenzano today announced his proposed Project 2025 community engagement strategy for Sault Ste. Marie’s downtown core. The strategy will begin by asking residents how they would envision the Sault Ste. Marie downtown approximately 10 years in the future.
Provenzano says, “A healthy downtown is a sign of a healthy city. In recent years, many commercial and institutional tenants have left the downtown area for other parts of town. What we need now is a concerted effort to renew our downtown so that it is a vibrant, attractive, and functional place for residents and visitors alike.”
In addition to soliciting ideas from Sault Ste. Marie residents, Provenzano also plans to bring together private-sector developers, existing businesses, tourism and cultural attractions, and neighbourhood associations to discuss planned and on-going initiatives.
Provenzano remarks, “I think there is a lot of great work going on, from the Riversedge developments at Mill Square, to the Canal District plan, to the on-going work of the Downtown Association. I think what is needed is an effort that will bring all these contributors together. By doing this, along with seeking input from the public, I’m confident we can develop a cohesive plan for the whole city core.”
Provenzano anticipates an initial period of community and stakeholder consultations to gather ideas for renewing the city’s core. After that first stage, implementation strategies will be developed and funding will be sought for the ideas considered most realistic. Provenzano acknowledges that making significant changes to the downtown area is likely to be a lengthy process.
“As implied by its name, Project 2025 is going to be a long-term undertaking,” says Provenzano. “I fully expect it will take more than one term and if I am elected on October 27th, I am committed to getting the project off of the ground and seeing the project through.”
Provenzano concludes, “All the residents I have spoken with during this campaign want to see Sault Ste. Marie grow and progress. However, progress is not just expanding into new areas; it also means renewing and revitalizing existing neighbourhoods and parts of town. A vibrant downtown is the heartbeat of a successful city. We can’t let our downtown be hollowed out—that’s why we need a community-driven exercise like Project 2025.”