LETHBRIDGE – Downtown Lethbridge has been on a 10-year plan to revitalize the heartbeat of the city, and for the first time, the Heart of Our City committee is set to celebrate those initiatives.
The Celebrate Downtown Awards will recognize people and organizations who have helped in the plan.
“It’s amazing how fast 10 years goes,” planning initiatives manager George Kuhl said. “When we look back at those 10 years, we realize that there are a lot of people in the community that have contributed to the success of downtown revitalization.”
The awards have five separate categories. Belinda Crowson is nominated for the Back in the Day Award, which celebrates someone who has contributed to the preservation of downtown Lethbridge.
“When I think back at the past ten years…I mean, the new street signs with the old names, the plaque program and how much work has been done by individual business owners and building owners. It’s just such an honour to be recognized with that group of people who’ve done so much,” Crowson said.
It isn’t just individuals being recognized: festivals and organizations are up for awards as well. The Love & Records Music Festival is up for the Hip Downtown Transformation Award, recognizing a nominee who has been a leader in the transformation of downtown.
“I think everyone on the committee was pretty excited to receive that type of recognition,” Love & Records organizer Curtis Goodman said. “Just receiving the nomination is pretty awesome and kind of makes everything we do on a volunteer basis that much more worthwhile.”
Other organizations who have thrived from the Heart of Our City grants include Lethbridge Pride Fest, a nominee for the Running with the Bulls Award, along with others who have challenged the status quo to maintain a vibrant downtown.
“It’s just been so amazing,” Lethbridge Pride Fest board chair Levi Cox said. “We put on this fun event to show that we have an accepting and beautiful community here, and we couldn’t do it without the heart of our city grant. We are so grateful for that.”
Although the master plan is 10 years old, that doesn’t mean the community’s work is done.
“A downtown is never finished,” Crowson said. “A downtown is a living organism, and so, you get some things going but you always have new ideas. Who’s ever done trying to make their community better?”