Kenora Mayor Dan Reynard says the advantages of Phase IV of downtown revitalization include better summer traffic flow and improved parking.
"One of the tentative plans is to close the exit street between the parking lot and the post office," noted the mayor, adding the closed street could then become additional parking space.
As it stands, First Street South wraps its way around the former Zellers parking lot. However, there are plans to create a new alignment for First Street South. It would reclaim part of the old parking lot, allowing the old roadway to be used for parking.
About $1.4 million from the project would be from water and sewer reserves for upgrades. Close to another $3 million would be taken from municipal reserves for the project. The province announced their contribution of $1 million Friday, and the city is hoping to receive another million from FedNor.
In a time of rising property taxes, as well as water and sewer rates, council has been lobbying for help from federal and provincial governments. Their contribution of $2 million will ease the need for future rate increases, although council is still falling behind their plans to reduce the infrastructure deficit.
In recent years, the Kenora Area Health Access Centre (Waasegiizhig Nanaandawe'iyewigamig) has also been working with the province and city hall, as they look to move to new offices. The health centre had purchased the old Kenwood Hotel in 2013, and they received funding for renovations.
However the work wasn't completed before the hotel burned in 2016 and was demolished a year later. The city completed a land swap with the access centre last year, in order to facilitate the new alignment for First Street South.
A new roundabout is proposed for the intersection of Park Street, First Street, and Fifth Avenue South. Essentially, the roundabout would be where the mall sign currently stands. The current roundabout eliminated traffic lights at the intersection of Lakeview Drive and Veterans Drive.
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