Skip to content

Fifth Street in Estevan is getting some love from volunteers

The work on Fifth Street started and the volunteer engagement is expected to be completed in July. But with the beautification chain reaction, the area may see more changes coming.

ESTEVAN — Fifth Street is currently undergoing a transformation, thanks to a group of dedicated volunteers led by Gale Tytlandsvik.

The project, driven by a desire to beautify the area, has seen significant contributions from local volunteers and supporters.

With the downtown portion of Fourth Street in Estevan getting a major facelift, thanks to the Canada Coal Transition Initiative grant and the city's efforts in securing it, the same blocks of Fifth Street seemed like they were craving attention, says Tytlandsvik, who is an Estevan artist, beautification enthusiast and arts council board member.

Tytlandsvik is well-known for her work with the Garden on Fourth, as well as for Estevan's murals and other art projects, not only created by her but also fuelled by her energy. She said when the decision was made to revitalize the core part of Fourth Street, she looked around Fifth and felt work needed to be done there.

"Somebody suggested that we do murals on the alley and Fifth Street, and I said 'Oh, they need a lot of help before I'll do that,'" Tytlandsvik recalled.

In April, Wendy Clark and Tytlandsvik explored the street's 1100 and 1200 blocks and created a list of what needs to be done to make it look prettier.

The initiative has received financial backing from an anonymous donor group. Tytlandsvik said once she felt that there was work to be done, she started checking with businesses and individuals seeking financial support to cover materials. Then she came across the group that was happy to cover the expenses.

"They said, 'Do you have volunteers?' I said, 'Yeah, I got volunteers but no money.' Then they handed me a cheque," Tytlandsvik recalled.

The funding has been crucial in covering materials and other expenses necessary for the project's success​​.

Once the work began, most businesses and property owners got on board with it.

"I approached literally every single business owner and tenant north and south on Fifth Street and both alleys," Tytlandsvik said. "Some were initially hesitant, but I insisted … and now, even those who were reluctant are on board."

The volunteers have taken on various tasks, from painting to cleaning up accumulated dirt and debris​​. A few local youths needing community service hours joined the initiative and have worked tirelessly to scrape weeds, clean alleys and freshen up the surroundings.

"We cleaned around the entire Pine Tree Plaza, scraping down to the pavement and filling dumpsters with debris," Tytlandsvik said.

This hands-on approach has not only improved the appearance of the area but also fostered a sense of community pride and willingness of people to help the change​​, she noted.

The core group of volunteers is pretty small with just over 10 people helping regularly. Tytlandsvik said some businesses got on board and have been helping with equipment and manpower as well.

"People are just coming on board," Tytlandsvik noted. "Laureen from the Wicklow is down there scraping and repainting another building for us. Wendy Clark was here this morning."

Tytlandsvik's approach has been both pragmatic and visionary, as her plans for Fifth Street include not only cleaning and touch-ups but also some art projects.

"We're putting murals up and fixing things that need to be fixed," she said.

This attention to detail has sparked further beautification efforts, with business owners becoming more invested in the project as they see tangible improvements and are willing to further upgrade their buildings and business fronts.

Tytlandsvik said this project wouldn't be possible without the financial and physical support she received from the community members involved.

The work on Fifth Street started and the volunteer engagement is expected to be completed in July. But with the beautification chain reaction, the area may see more changes coming.

If someone is willing to help and volunteer, please reach out to Tytlandsvik.