180 Gore Street, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario was the space for a community engagement event on Thursday, January 14th, 2016. The public open house was part of the Gore Street Revitalization Project ‘Transform Gore’, City of Sault Ste. Marie.
Steve Turco, Planner with the City of Sault Ste. Marie Planning Department spoke to saultonline about the evenings’ event. “The planning department, in cooperation with the city’s engineering deptartment, is coordinating the reconstruction of Gore Street. The project is two-fold. One is to address the aging infrastructure, under streets and sidewalks, the condition of sidewalks, leading into the revitalization of Gore Street.”
The City of Sault Ste. Marie will be implementing streetscaping initiatives serving and complimenting a number of different purposes. “We want to create a street that accommodates multi modes of traffic. Creating a calm place where people can stop, rather than just travel through. By implementing this, we hope to create a safer place for cyclists, and pedestrians; A place that encourages people to come together and visit.”
Part of the initiative is to slow down and calm the traffic on Gore Street. A number of people shared their experiences about the timing of the street lights on Gore Street from Queen Street travelling north up to Wellington West. “The lights need to be synched”, shared one attendee.
Historical markers was an idea also shared by an attendee, including honouring First Nation history. Bike lanes, proximity to Hub Trail, gathering areas for people to sit and relax, raised plate markers to indicate where previous historical events took place, were all ideas shared by individuals at the event.
“Landscaping and street furnishings are part of the esthetic value in an urban area, lending to the emotional well being of a community. By creating an urban form, we are enhancing the public realm.” said Steve Turco.
“It’s an attempt for the city to compliment a capital works project by augmenting it in a method that supports the revitalization of the street. It’s important to note that what we are doing tonight is addressing the public realm. What is above the ground. Streets, sidewalks, city-owned property; building face to building face,” adding, “We’re (the City of Sault Ste. Marie) not attempting to go after properties that are below standard. The mission of the project is to enhance the public realm.”
Gore street itself, is being viewed and considered as a public space, as opposed to a thoroughfare. As part of the Gore street Revitalization Project, the City is hoping to flush out ideas, about the streetscaping process. “An engagement strategy to build on what we have done to this point. It’s important that people are aware and embrace the project, and have opportunities to share their ideas.” said Steve Turco.
Sticky notes provided, were filling up the architectural drawings, creating a visual collage resplendent with ‘points to ponder’.
The turn-out for the evening was robust. “At the end of the day, people really care about this area. It’s very encouraging that people want to see this project come together. It’s amazing the turnout we have for this project tonight.”
The City of Sault Ste. Marie is looking to June 2016 for the Streetscaping Project to begin construction, with November 2016 as the goal for the big reveal.
There is an online survey available as well for folks to share their input. “The online survey to date has had over 300 responses.” said Steve Turco.
Saultonline has the link to the survey: CLICK HERE
City of Sault Ste. Marie’s Transform Gore! project can be found at: http://www.saultstemarie.ca