Good ideas Matter: Boost Opportunity and Creativity

With two murals complete, there’s already an ask for us to do more. I get it! They’re stunning, and it’s been an initiative that council has discussed for years. It was great to partner with the Allied Arts Council on this project. Now we’re all driving around analyzing the sides of buildings on their mural suitableness.

Erin Stevenson standing on the rock steps at Kenton Park

The pandemic has been trying on many of us, and the creativity aspect in our city took a hit due to the restrictions that were necessary to keep people safe. We’re known around the region for having amazing Canada Day celebrations yet last year was cancelled and this year was a subdued affair. Our regular programming was either cancelled or scaled back. We feel the desire from the community to reconnect and that’s often through creative outlets. It’s our job to provide those opportunities.

It’s also an opportune time for us to think outside the box and come up with creative ways to deliver cultural events. So, let’s be brave and think big and not let perceived constraints limit our thinking.

The Ideas

There are 3 sections- ideas for going forward, current initiatives in progress, and initiatives that have been implemented.

2021 Ideas Going Forward:

  • Family friendly events around the city that are outside of the box. Think ‘tenting in the park’ ‘walk, drive or pedal in movies’, giants scavenger hunts and pet parades. *
  • There is a desire for more culture in Spruce Grove and to make it accessible. Ideas like a chalkfest or an arts centred summer event where artists come to Spruce and show off their talents (think art wall/art walk/or mural fest)
  • We have pride in our city, yet with the lack of signage on our highways to welcome people, some may beg to differ. Let’s enhance our signage around the city and let’s make it easy to find your way around town. Wayfinding does not just belong in the city centre.
  • More murals! Bring the colour!
  • More outdoor events in general and throughout the year. But let’s take advantage of our long summer nights with music in the park, introduce a summer concert series and provide more social opportunities to residents to get to know each other.

Initiatives Currently In progress:

  • The civic centre is in its design stage (will either be approved or defeated by the 2021-20265 council) but currently the civic centre will include two ice pads, a second library location, the art gallery, a black box theatre, meeting spaces for our multiple organizations in the city and more. This has come a long way in features and way down in cost. *
  • I have long supported having a second library location and even suggested in 2017 that it be part of the new centre. *
  • Support of the arts community with black box theatre. The Horizon stage is wonderful but it has its limitations. *
  • The City Centre Business Association (CCBA) has done tremendous work bringing public markets to the city centre including a Winterfest and supporting Fall fest. We’ve seen our community flock to them and enjoy the vendors, music and food. *
  • Every year, with a generous donation from RMRF , the city is able to buy local art and support our community. The city has an impressive art collection of paintings, sculptures and drawings. Many of the art pieces can be seen throughout the city.

Initiatives that have been implemented:

  • The city purchased acres of serviced land in the Westwind land for future development. At this moment, the idea is to develop the civic centre on these lands. This was all possible due to previous agreements with the developer and forward thinking council members (previous councils) to be able to assemble this land in such a prominent area and help drive opportunity around it.
  • The completion of the first two murals has already brought so much joy and positive chatter. Do check them out at the corner of King and McLeod (near Fas Gas) and on the Cumbria Centre building (west side, where Rainbow Palace is located). *
  • Council supported the RCMP Musical Ride that came to the region in 2019. It was an impressive display for those who came out to enjoy.

A * denotes this idea was a part of my 2017 campaign platform and was happy to support and vote in favour. It does not mean I was responsible for it as it is a council decision to move any initiative forward.