City administration has recommended that the $25,000 allocated for city beautification in the 2019 budget be used to clean up the second avenue corridor.
Timothy Yeaman, Prince Albert’s parks manager, brought to proposal before council at Monday’s executive committee meeting.
Yeaman said cleaning up Second Avenue would be a “quick win” for the city, since it’s the most well-travelled route to get through Prince Albert, and as such it can leave visitors with a positive or negative impression.
“This is one of those instantaneous things where you could drive into the city and see the change right away,” he told council.
The cleanup will take place over several phases, the largest of which will be the cleaning and landscaping of the iron-barred fence and plant beds that sit in the meridian separating traffic. Yeaman said that part of Second Avenue is a major eyesore that needs to be weeded, swept and powerwashed. However, further long-term landscaping plans will have to wait.
“We want to keep that as clean as possible, without planting something (before) knowing whether we can maintain it or not,” he explained.
Yeaman added that they’re also looking for closer communication with business owners who own property along Second Avenue. He said many businesses have changed hands recently, and the new owners don’t seem to realize they have a landscaping agreement with the city. That’s something he’s hoping to clear up in the coming weeks.
He also said the city plans to establish closer ties with the two rural municipalities surrounding Prince Albert to help keep entrances outside the city clean.
The proposal garnered plenty of support from city council, with most members saying they’re happy with the department’s priorities and direction.
“I’m very happy that we actually have a small victory here, which is Second Avenue,” Ward 5 Coun. Dennis Ogrodnick said. “That’s the busiest street. That’s the street that people see when they come into Prince Albert right away. We do know that we have seven or eight entrances that need to be addressed, but with $25,000 … we can’t tackle the entire city.”
There were some concerns from council about whether the city has adequate staff to perform the work while still maintaining their regular duties. Yeaman said the city has enough staff for this year, but that may change in the future.
“Everything is under review,” he told council. “I need another year to go through our processes … (to) take a full review of the parks side and ask myself where our shortfalls are and where we’re going to need some help in the future.”
Admin asks for new strategy for cleaning up city entrances
Cleaning up Second Avenue is a short-term solution for the parks department. The long-term one involves developing a Framework and Strategy for the Branding and Beautification of the City’s Entrance Ways.
Yeaman said keeping the city clean requires input from a number of departments and community partners. By creating a formal strategy, city crews could complete that work as efficiently as possible.
“Going through this process has been interesting,” he said. “We realized, as administration, that there was a lot more to take into consideration in regards to this project and the planning of it, and that it would require more than one department to take this on.”
The strategy will be presented at a Community Services Advisory Committee meeting before making its way to council.