Continuing from my last post, I believe the following would revitalize Collingwood’s downtown core area:
1. Close Hurontario off to traffic from 1st St to 3rd St to create a pedestrian boulevarde. Install locked bollards across each end that are removable by emergency vehicles.
2. On Highway 24 at Poplar Side Rd install signs saying no entry to Highway 26 through downtown, downtown traffic only. So through (Collingwood) traffic is directed east and west on Poplar Side Rd. The idea here is to stop traffic bottle necking downtown if these people are not intending to go downtown.
3. The parking area behind the town hall gets designated for commercial development 2 floors of which becomes a shopping mall. With 3 levels of multi vehicle parking above that. This creates a draw to downtown, keeps within the height restrictions that were the problem with Admiral Collingwood Building. Replaces lost parking spaces along Hurontario which are easier to charge for and control because you don’t get to leave the parking lot unless you pay. Just like parking is enforced and paid for in 99% of the rest of the world.
4. Town still owns land and collects parking revenues plus property taxes from businesses located in new mall. A win win situation for town, how much money is that land creating right now?
5. The exterior of this new mall gets a similar look to Loblaw’s.
6. Another commercial development in the Loblaw’s parking lot. The focus on this area could be an entertainment complex with bowling alley and a smaller cinema which caters for the movies that do not get shown in the Cineplex (most of the movies that I want to see). Above this 2 floors of parking for Loblaw’s and this new development, it also acts as extra parking for stores on Hurontario St.
7. The arena gets refurbished with a cement floor under ice. The emphasis on the arena is more for public skating, ice skating, ice dancing shows, concerts, etc. So we lose all the hockey type paraphernalia to give it a warmer feel. We still allow people to rent the ice for pickup hockey and practices, but hockey is not the main focus. Note: This scenario would have worked a lot better if we had twin ice pads up at the Y.
8. On the Hurontario pedestrian boulevard the emphasis is on stores that sell local crafts, galleries for local artists, gourmet local food products, restaurants, coffee shops, a brew pub. Banks are then free to relocate out of the downtown core. These stores, restaurants and galleries have minimum opening hours and must stay open until a designated time in the evening (like Blue Mountain Village).
9. With the extra parking that has been created downtown by items 3 and 6 above some of the parking area in front of the Admirals Post and Tesoro’s could then be turned into a glass enclosed year round farmers market place for weekends and holidays.
Some of the things I suggest above ensure that rather than force people to come downtown to do mundane things like banking and visit a dilapidated arena in the hope that a few dollars gets spent along the way. We have created a real reason for people to come downtown, not only for locals but visitors also.