Downtown Lethbridge is ready to host the return of several events this year – as well as set the stage and opportunity for a slate of new activation initiatives.
Through a combination of Re-Imagine Downtown Activation initiatives approved in fall 2021, and those to be approved in the coming weeks through the grant's latest intake period, 2022 is shaping up to be a busy time for events Downtown.
The total funding available for the Re-Imagine Downtown Activation Grant in 2022 is up to $150,000. Applications are eligible for up to $25,000, with funding provided through the Downtown Redevelopment Fund. The current intake period of applications has been extended until April 22 to give more time for those interested to get their applications submitted.
The Re-Imagine Downtown Activation Grant originated in 2021 through the Heart of Our City Committee (HOCC) re-imagining the former Activity Grant program in order to enhance vibrancy Downtown in the context of pandemic and post-pandemic realities. The funding aims to support businesses, entrepreneurs, organizations and community-minded individuals in implementing initiatives, events, and/or programs that seek to activate vacant, underutilized and under programmed private and public spaces and places within Downtown Lethbridge.
"As we saw with the launch of Re-Imagine in 2021, there are several great projects that can happen with the right support in place," says Andrew Malcolm, Urban Revitalization Manager. "During intake 2, we received 15 applications with funding requests totaling in excess of $250,000. Although we did not have adequate funds to meet the demand, this is a great sign for overall interest in the future of Downtown Lethbridge."
"We are thrilled at the continued interest this program has received and we look forward to more events in 2022," says HOCC Chair Lorien Johansen.
Through the evaluative process in this second intake of applications, the review panel and the HOCC prioritized grant funding based on the criteria identified in the application package, with several projects partially or fully funded including:
- NineBar Indoor Skate Facility and Summer Downtown Pop-Up Skate Park - $25,000 - Transformation of an existing vacant downtown space into an indoor space for youth to skateboard, which will provide a year-round, safe space for them to exercise and find community. Additionally, a pop-up skate parks in specified locations downtown with movable features during the summer months.
- Horses in the Park - $15,000 - The Lethbridge Therapeutic Riding Association will bring therapeutic horses to Galt Gardens to provide the benefits of quine facilitated wellness therapies in the core and to create an environment through interaction with horses for vulnerable people to connect meaningfully with existing medical and social service providers working to address issues of homelessness, addiction and mental health.
- Lethbridge Pride Festival 2022 - $8,000 - To be held in June 2022 to engage not only the 2SLGBTQIA+ but Lethbridge and surrounding areas in celebration.
- Word on the Street Festival - $8,000 - An outdoor literary event comprised of author readings for kids, teens and adults, workshops and panels, live music and activities, and exhibitor marketplace, in a street fair setting
- Hootenanny! - $8,000 - A free outdoor theatrical production for all ages presented in downtown Lethbridge at Galt Gardens throughout July. Hootenanny's productions include diverse theatrical styles such as clown, puppetry, and physical theatre and embraces themes of inclusivity and diversity. This year's production's themes will centre around Indigenous ways of knowing and environmental awareness.
- ARTcade - $5,638 - The ARTcade concept is meant to bring the interest and joy of everyone's favourite midway and arcade games to Lethbridge's downtown. 'Scaled-up' versions of classic games like skee ball and plinko will bring interest and curiosity to the downtown, including the outside spaces around CASA and local businesses.
- Jazz & Blues 2022 Event Series - $5,000 Lethbridge Jazz Society is hosting local and national artists in a series of live events in downtown Lethbridge, across a variety of venues.
Applications are eligible for up to $25,000 with the Re-Imagine Downtown Activation Grant. The third of four intakes has been extended to remain open until April 22 at 4 p.m. The HOCC encourages all unsuccessful applicants to reach out to City administration with any questions, concerns, and/or to receive individualized feedback on their application. They are encouraged to reapply in the next intakes. More information is here.