The Yorkton Business Improvement District is taking an interesting approach as it unveiled the key elements of its three-year plan at the regular meeting of Yorkton Council Monday.
YBID is primarily a group dedicated to improving the downtown area of the city, as well as the West Broadway corridor to the city's west end.
The next three years the YBID looks to invest approximately $40,000 a year into programming designed to beautify the downtown core, but with an eye to also improving the area in terms of promoting pedestrian traffic.
The idea of enhancing the downtown to people walking to do their business makes good sense since there is certainly increased interest in alternative transportation to cars.
We have seen that in Yorkton with the City moving forward with development of a bike path system to enhance the opportunity for people to use that mode of transportation more easily.Interestingly at the same meeting The Walk and Roll Committee of the Yorkton Regional High School made a request to Yorkton Council to have the City designate the first Wednesday of June Walk and Roll Day. In making the presentation to Council Roby Sharpe explained that at the school it will be the fifth annual event, where people are encouraged to walk, bike, roller blade, or simply "choose active transportation to get to work or school."
It is an idea which dovetails nicely with what YBID looks to promote over the next three years.A familiar project of YBID is the annual placement of wooden flower pots around the city. The flowers are certainly an enhancement to the aesthetics of the downtown, and the YBID is looking at the flower pots as an ongoing project.
However, to make it viable long term they want to move away from wood which does need replacing, to an alternative cement structures which will last for far longer.
The installation of larger cement structures will require Council approval, but that would seem likely given that the City has created similar structures themselves on the turn outs in the downtown core.
The YBID is also planning to create four 'Island Rest Stops' along West Broadway Street. A rest area would have a bench, a flower pot, a trash can and adequate lighting. It does not impede traffic or interfere with snow removal.
This is another aesthetic for pedestrian traffic which simply makes sense, especially with the YBID looking to start the funding process.
In 2011 YBID will progress to add some art to the downtown too.
"YBID wants to encourage walking along Broadway and using the Rest Stops, or elsewhere along Broadway, as we bring forward a Sidewalk Art Project. Working with the Renaissance Committee, we will invite Saskatchewan artists to draw and paint sections of sidewalks into interesting art forms. We believe that this is a first of its kind project in Saskatchewan," stated a report to Council.Such moves by YBID are forward thinking when you consider Health Canada reports that only 27 per cent of Canadians achieve health benefits from enough daily physical activity. The YBID's efforts will help promote the benefits of walking, by making the city's downtown a pleasing place to stroll and shop.