The Big Dig
Things are really moving along in Market Square and the big dig is underway.
City officials met recently with the City Centre BIA and the dig contractor, Ro-Buck Contracting, to map out what is happening in the Square over the next few months. BIA members reported that they really appreciated the information-sharing and hope that this level of collaboration continues.
Here's what we know:
- Removal of above ground features in the Square will start on December 12 and fencing will start to go up.
- Sidewalks in front of businesses and immediately behind City Hall will stay, but the hard surface where cars used to park will start coming up.
- Watermain work will begin in January. We're guessing that its twisted and ancient system of pipes down there!
- This work will be followed by a lull until March when attention will shift to the sides and front of City Hall.
- With spring weather, work really begins in earnest and the overall concept for Market Square will begin to take shape with paving, outdoor furniture, lighting, trees etc.
- Contractors will work between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays. Any weekend work will have to be approved by the City and contractors will need to comply with city noise by-laws.
- The Contractor cannot close any street without permission from the Engineering Department. The contractor has applied for, and been granted, a road closure for Market Square from now until June 23.
- Both the city and contractor will be responsible for easy-to-see signage and notice boards that will help the public navigate the Square during construction. Access to local businesses and the back of City Hall will be maintained as a priority.
- A monthly update meeting for local business owners and residents of the Market Square will be arranged at City Hall.
- Garbage and recycling collection (and drop off) within the Square will be maintained by the Contractor.
- There will be implications for hydro, water and sewage during the projects, so the contractor will inform businesses and residents in the Square when, and if, there will be outages. The assumption is that they will all be brief.
- The contractor will work closely with the GSP design group to ensure that what gets built aligns with the master design.
- To the best of their abilities, the City will maintain access to the back of some Market Place businesses via Waldie's Lane, to allow for business and delivery access.
- Bus transit services will continue to operate from a temporary location on George Street.
Rogers Hometown Hockey
Market Square was the site of a huge hockey-themed party this past weekend. The Rogers Hometown Hockey cavalcade arrived in the Square and demonstrated that it can be a great public event space, even in the cold and snow. Activities on the main stage in Market Square drew huge crowds over the weekend and programming included guest appearances by hockey commentators Ron MacLean and Tara Slone, along with a roster of hockey greats such as Lanny McDonald and Shayne Corson. Everywhere you looked, there was a kid in a hockey jersey! The Beacon Herald reports that over three million viewers got to see our beautiful town via the Rogers Hometown Hockey broadcasts.
Surviving the Big Dig
Apparently, Stratford is not the only community with big dig headaches. Rob Russell, President of the City Centre BIA, reports that in November, the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association hosted a training seminar that focused solely on how to survive a big dig. Not surprisingly, quite a number of other municipalities have planned and lived through a downtown revitalization project. And they had lots of good advice for businesses in Stratford. Communication and information-sharing topped the list of "must haves". The City Centre BIA in Stratford is having fun with the social media hashtag #WeDigDTstratford as they communicate with their customers and each other over the coming months.
December 12 Construction begins in Market Square
January Regular meetings of the contractor and City project leads begin
January 10 A Residents and business owner meeting scheduled 3-5 p.m. inside City Hall.
The City of Stratford posted this information about temporary arrangements for the transit terminal during the construction period in Market Square:
Temporary Transit Terminal Starting December 8, 2016 to April 2017
Please be advised that due to Rogers Hometown Hockey (December 8,9,10,11) and the Market Square Revitalization project commencing December 12, 2016 the Bus Terminal will no longer be located behind City Hall. The temporary Bus Terminal will be moved to George Street beside the Avon Theatre (between Downie and Waterloo). The buses will line up in single file on George Street. Keep in mind that buses will not arrive in any specific order every time or have a specific parking spot on each arrival. Please use the route display sign on the sides of the bus in order that you board the correct bus.
George Street was selected in order that buses could attempt to maintain and continue the 30 minute service. Delays/lateness will occur from time to time due to numerous factors and circumstances not in Transit’s control. Please understand that Staff will be doing their best to get you to your destination as promptly as possible during the next several months and we appreciate your understanding during this transition.
Questions regarding should be directed to the Transit office at 519-271-0250, Ext. 264 during business hours.
- The new design for Market Square allows the City to maintain 32 parking spots in Market Square along the Market Place, on the south side of the Square.
- Four of these spots will be designated disabled.
- The City has designated another 50 parking spots at the Cooper Site where shoppers and workers can park for free all day. These spaces will be constructed in the spring of 2017.
- City staff are looking at options to communicate about parking availability in the Erie Street Lot and the Kalbfleisch Lot during the construction period and beyond.
- Read about the City’s parking action plan at this link. http://www.stratfordcanada.ca/en/livehere/resources/Parking/ACTION-PLAN---October-2016.pdf
- The action plan will be implemented in phases. First steps will be brought to the Infrastructure, Transportation and Safety Subcommittee on 21 December.
- Financing for Market Square has been allocated as follows:
Canada 150 Grant$250,000
Working Capital Reserve$216,000
2017 Infrastructure Levy$250,000
Total Construction Costs$2,550,000
December 1 First meeting of City Staff, the City Centre BIA and Ro-Buck Contracting
December 7 Rogers Hometown Hockey kick-off
Book your lunch at the Stratford Country Club at 11:45am, hosted by the Stratford District Chamber of Commerce. Guest speaker is Jay Feaster of Hockey Development for the Tampa Bay Lightnings Call the Chamber for tickets and wear your favourite jersey! Visit https://www.stratfordcanada.ca/en/playhere/rogers-hometown-hockey-stratford.asp#seven for the full schedule of events.
December 10-11 Rogers Hometown Hockey in the Square.
This free festival will feature family-friendly programming and activities in Market Square all weekend long. Celebrate Canada's game by picking up a virtual autograph inside the Rogers Tent, meet your favourite NHL Alumni in the Scotiabank Community Locker Room, and cheer for your local minor hockey teams in the Cheer Like Never Before contest. And wear your team jersey!
-December 7 - 9 Rogers Hometown Hockey Skills Clinics - from 4pm to 6 p.m; on December 10 at 1:30 to 4pm and December 11 11:30am to 1:00pm
-December 11- Rogers Hometown Hockey Activities from 12 noon to 10 p.m. with a live broadcast from Market Square with Ron MacLean at 6 p.m.
Every night, there’s lots of hockey happening at the William Allman arena as well.
Throughout this Hockey Palooza weekend there will be:
FREE Stratford Transit Service
FREE Parking at the Cooper Lot
FREE Shuttle from the Cooper Lot to Market Square
December 12 Construction begins in Market Square
Nov. 21, 2016
Winning Sesquicentennial art project for Stratford Market Square!
Construction for Market Square redevelopment got the green light this week at City Council. Ro-Buck Contracting of London has been awarded the contract to begin the big dig that will transform Market Square in 2017. The goal is to complete all of the work around City Hall (front and back) in time for Canada Day. In addition to beautifying the space, the contractor has work to do on the water mains and electrical services under the Market Square platform. More work on the pedestrian bump outs and pedestrian crossings will wait until after Canada Day so there is no disruption of civic celebrations. At the last Council meeting, City Councillors indicated how much they appreciate the importance of these pedestrian –related improvements, in terms of the function and appeal of Market Square.
Ro-buck Contracting out of London was selected after a careful tender process. After pre-qualifying four firms to bid on the construction work, City staff issued Tender T16-13 which closed on 12 October 2016. Three bids were received and were substantially higher than expected. The additional expense appeared to be the result of a short construction timeline that extended through the winter, limited product sourcing, and an expanded project scope that now meant this revitalization project would be completed in one construction phase. This included added provisional items such as pedestrian cross walks and traffic bump-outs, and revitalization at the front of City Hall.
Consequently, City staff worked with its consultant to revise the drawings and specifications and expand supply choice while maintaining the same quality and design. The revised construction tender was then re-issued to the pre-qualified firms with the same look and feel as proposed. The bids received were substantially lower, and staff presented them to Council. On 14 November, Council awarded the contract with the proviso that some funding would have to come from the 2017 budget and from some public fundraising.
City staff and representatives of the City Centre Business Improvement Area (BIA) will begin meeting the week of 1 December to sort out the details, including the work schedule. Businesses understandably want to know how the work will proceed and its implications for access to their storefronts. Work will begin the week of 12 December, however, storefronts will remain fully accessible throughout the December holiday season. Market Square will also be used for the Rogers Hometown Hockey event (December 8 to11), prior to construction. Finally, City staff tell us they will be bringing parking efficiencies and transit solutions to Council soon.
Here’s the link to the story filed by The Beacon Herald’s Mike Beitz after the Council meeting last week. http://www.stratfordbeaconherald.com/2016/11/15/stratfords-market-square-contract-awarded-work-to-begin-in-january
We’ll bring you more information as it becomes available.
Businesses on the Square
The businesses on Market Square are probably breathing a sigh of relief that access to their shops will be wide open through the Christmas season. And that means we all need to do a big chunk of our shopping in downtown Stratford. Watch the City Centre website for more info about special events for holiday shoppers. . http://www.stratfordcitycentre.ca/
Stratford Sesquicentennial Committee
Council also made a decision about Stratford’s 2017 Sesquicentennial Public Art Project. Councillors selected a proposed art project from Megan Schaff (from the local architectural firm Marklevitz Architects Inc.) and collaborator, Matthew Hartney, who is a restaurant design instructor working to complete his studies in architecture (top of posting). This project involves a series of panels that will be placed around a tree on the Downie Street side of Market Square. The panels will feature etched images of historic scenes from Stratford’s past. You can bet there will be a train in there. The schedule for this installation has not been finalized yet.
New Business on Market Square
Here’s a shout out to two new businesses on Market Square. Visit them soon!
Meet your Maker
62 Wellingston Street
Meet Your Maker has been local artist Leigh Cooney’s dream for a while. The shop on Wellington is a boutique focusing on handmade, small-batch, artisanal goods, with a tiny 300 square foot gallery at the back which showcases subversive, contemporary, unusual "Neo-Folk" inspired art on the fringe. https://www.facebook.com/meetyourmakergallery
Bard’s Steakhouse and The Hub
27 Market Place
Congrats to Kevin Larson and his team. The Hub has been open this season, but now the Steakhouse has been launched. Great food and a great view of Market Square!
Outdoor Christmas Market
November 20th, 10am to 4pm
George Street, between Waterloo St. and Downie St.
Don't miss the second annual Victorian inspired open air market where 35 local artisans showcase their wares, sure to put you into the spirit of Christmas. Santa oversees activities for children in the Avon Theatre. Oh yes, musicians from our very own Stratford Symphony Orchestra will provide the sweet sounds of the season!
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The City of Stratford posts information about Market Square at https://www.stratfordcanada.ca/en/insidecityhall/Market-Square.asp