LETHBRIDGE, AB – A total of 11 different initiatives, ranging from music festivals to a cigarette collection program are benefiting from Lethbridge’s new Re-Imagine Downtown Activation Grant.
The financial support idea was put together back in the springtime through the Heart of Our City Committee to find ways of enhancing downtown Lethbridge as the city moves through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Andrew Malcolm, the City’s Urban Revitalization Manager, says there are some interesting things people may notice, including expanded patio spaces along 3rd Avenue South. One of those is out front of the Lighthouse Japanese Restaurant, which received a grant of $7,500. The business plans to not only use that space for outdoor eating, but to host viewing of the Tokyo Olympics and even taiko drumming.
Malcolm notes they had 19 applications for this first round of funding, with only enough money for 11 projects. He says that’s a good sign of things to come for downtown Lethbridge.
Something different is a cigarette butt collection program which is an idea which came from a couple of young Lethbridge men. Morteza Faraji and Steven Yang received $3,000 for their new initiative. Their cigarette drums and smoker poles will be placed around the downtown. The butts will be collected once a month and shipped to a recycling company in Toronto for cash. That money will then be donated to the Interfaith Food Bank.
Faraji and Yang say that cigarette butts are one of the biggest waste problems we have on streets around the city and they wanted to come with a way to help clean things up and beautify the downtown area.
First Intake Grant Recipients:
- Upside Down – $15,000
Concert series to be held every Thursday evening from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., until September 2, on Rotary Square at Casa. Artists will include a diverse choice of musical, cultural and theatrical performances. A variety of food trucks will be invited in partnership with the BRZ to create a Dine in Downtown promotion.
- Building Business Downtown Project – $15,000
A business recruitment project that aims to fill vacant storefronts in downtown Lethbridge. It will include a pitch competition, professional business guidance and see-through the execution of a business idea. Judges will pick one winner, but will also have the opportunity to make connections and offer deals on leases and mentorship to other entrepreneurs.
- Lethbridge Electronic Music Fest – $14,795
This year’s LEMF on September 25 will include two stages of electronic music, an all-Canadian lineup, artisan market, beer garden and kids zone.
- Theatre Outré – $12,000
This project aims to draw new audiences to Didi’s Playhaus and Downtown Lethbridge by establishing a fixture for weekly low-barrier entertainment and world-class theatre in a space inclusive to individuals from all gender, racial and sexual diversities.
- Shakespeare – $10,000
Five performances of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, presented by Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society and directed by Andrew Legg. Performances will be in Galt Gardens on July 30, August 19 and 20, and at Casa on August 14.
- Centric Music Fest – $8,850
Running Wednesdays until August 4, Centric MusicFest is a Classical and art music festival producing hybrid performances (online and in-person) of a variety of music genres. They are looking to add outdoor pop-up concerts throughout the downtown core.
- Lighthouse on the Street – $7,500
To leverage the recently expanded sidewalk space in front of Lighthouse Restaurant, made possible by the 3rd Avenue Reconstruction project, they are hoping to add vibrant programming such as Taiko drumming and Tokyo Olympics viewing.
- Downtown Farmers’ Market – $6,750
The market occurs each Wednesday, beginning in July, until mid-September. This year, the market has expanded to take over the entire street space to allow for more vendors, entertainment and a space for seating.
- LPL Outside – $4,730
Conceived by the Active Spaces team at Lethbridge Public Library with the goal of increasing positive activities at the library. By bringing library programming and events outside, they hope to attract those passing the library to come see what is happening.
- Cigarette Butt – $3,000
By creating cigarette drums and smoker poles to place around downtown, this project aims to educate citizens while reducing cigarette litter in Downtown Lethbridge. Collected cigarettes will be shipped to Terracycle to be recycled, with $1 per pound of waste donated to the Interfaith Food Bank.
- Lunch & Listen – $1,600
The Lunch & Listen Concert Series (located downtown at Casa and free to the public) offers wonderful classical music events to the public on the First Friday of every month. They have not been offered during the pandemic, but are looking to re-start in September.