City Council will be asked to receive information in regards to an update on the revitalization plans for James St. and the surrounding area during Monday evening’s meeting.
This comes after a resolution passed by Council on Mar. 5, 2018 that states the following:
“James Street and Surrounding Area Revitalization
Plan Moved by: Councilor M. Shoemaker
Seconded by: Councilor O. Grandinetti
Whereas the CTV W5 program “Steel Town Down” focused on the opioid crisis across Canada, and how it is affecting mid-sized cities like Sault Ste. Marie; and Whereas the program featured Sault Ste. Marie’s Jamestown neighbourhood as one of the areas in Sault Ste. Marie where the use of opioids and other substances is prominent; and Whereas the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre’s GIS department has been presenting data to stakeholders in the community for a number of years on the lack of park services and outdoor recreation activities in the Jamestown area and throughout the downtown core; and Whereas the lack of activities in Sault Ste. Marie was cited as one of a wide number of factors that results in individuals turning to substance use, and ultimately substance abuse, in Sault Ste. Marie; and Whereas the provision of park services and outdoor recreational activities is an area of direct municipal responsibility and an area where the City can play a leading role in combating part of this issue;Now Therefore Be It Resolved that Community Development and Enterprise Services staff, in consultation with the Innovation Centre’s GIS department, be requested to bring forward to City Council forthwith a James Street and surrounding area revitalization plan, including, but not limited to:
- possible expansion of Anna Marinelli Park;
- conversion of unused green space in the area for recreational use; and
- an examination and assessment of James Street and a recommendation on how best to use James Street as a public space; and
- recommendations on the creation of a park or green space in the Downtown core.”
“Planning staff will be working with The Planning Partnership this fall to develop a plan for Anna Marinelli Park and the James Street area (i.e. Jamestown) that will address the points raised in the Council Resolution referenced above,” a report in the council agenda says.
“In addition, staff will also explore other public realm and community development initiatives,including:
- conversion of James Street into a shared street, facilitating the reintroduction of vehicles while maintaining a strong pedestrian focus;
- creation of functional spaces for programming, such as markets or events;increased recreational and natural play spaces and opportunities;establishment ofa community hub similar to the Gore Street Neighbourhood Resource Centre –in conjunction withCitystaff’s work on a separate Council Resolutionentitled Jamestown HealthEquity Centre,passed May 28, 2018; improved linkages and connections between the James Street areaand the Downtown that are safe and accessible; andpotential opportunities for new private investment in the areathat could make the James Street area more of a ‘complete neighbourhood'”
According to staff, housing near the Anna Marinelli Park are, on average, among the youngest and lowest-income compared to households living around all other City parks. his area also has the fourth highest number of children aged zero to 17 living in low-income households (after the areas around Rosedale, Boston and Sutton parks).
Planning staff are recommending the following actions be taken in order to create a place that people would want to visit, stay and regularly use:
- Local champions meeting:Brainstorming and priority setting session with local champions–key neighbourhood and external stakeholders –to discuss community objectives, opportunities and methods for community engagement.
- Neighbourhood survey and outreach: For collecting ideas and other preliminary input and data, as well as inviting neighbours to attend upcoming engagement sessions.
- Neighbourhood mixers/idea sessions: Casual come-and-go sessions to gather ideas from neighbours – including residents as well as operators and owners of neighbourhood businesses and services.
- Design workshops with The Planning Partnership: Sessions where local champions and neighbours have an opportunity to work with professional designers from The Planning Partnership on turning ideas into drawings and plans.
- Public open house at the Soup Kitchen: Presentation of the final draft of the plan.
Staff have already begun reaching out to partners such as the District of Sault Ste. Marie Social Services Administration Board, the Soup Kitchen Community Centre and FutureSSM’s Social Equity Coordinator, and anticipate that all of these public and stakeholder engagement activities will take place over the course of this fall, with a plan ready for Council’s review by December2019or the beginning of 2020.
The budget for this engagement and visioning exercise is $12,500 and is included in the Planning Division’s existing budget for the Shape the Sault –new Official Plan project.