Downtown Strategy

Vibrant Downtown

The City of Fort Saskatchewan's Economic Development team are developing an Economic Development Strategy for the City's downtown. The Strategy will give Council and administration a tool for understanding the community's downtown vision and will provide a set of actions for attracting people and businesses to the City's core.

The City ran an engagement process to gather insight to inform the Strategy. The aim is to create a vision and Action Plan that is reflective of the community and their needs from downtown.

Summary of Findings

The report found the public was most in support of initiatives which center around activation of public spaces enhancement of vacant lots. Additional ideas which were well supported included improving connection to the river valley, development of a central gathering plaza, and improvements to signage and wayfinding.

The 3 most supported ideas to improve the vibrancy of Downtown, in order of magnitude, were:

  1. Activate Legacy Park (89.2%)
  2. Activate Vacant Lots (87.8%)
  3. Beautify Vacant Lots (85%)

The 3 most supported actions to improve the vibrancy of Downtown, in order of magnitude, were:

  1. Grants for sidewalk cafes and patios (71.4%)
  2. Remove barriers to restaurant patios (62.4%)
  3. Grants to create event (47.8%)

View the full Vibrant Downtown Summary Report

Why is Downtown important to Fort Saskatchewan?

It provides identity and civic pride

Downtown Fort Saskatchewan is like no other place in the country. The history, the public spaces, the distinctive businesses, and one-of-a-kind events all give Fort Saskatchewan our unique identity.

It is the community’s gathering place

Downtown is the one neighbourhood that is shared by the community. Cafés, restaurants, shops, activities, events and festivals, make downtown a destination for celebrating and socializing outside of your home or workplace.

Our City’s “first impression”

  • Usually, the first place a visitor, tourist or an investor will visit is a community’s downtown.
  • It can leave a positive or negative “first impression” depending on the vitality of the neighbourhood.

Opportunity for small, local businesses

Lower rents, a variety of rental property and the unique environment offers our local small businesses a different option to shopping malls, big-box and strip centers.

Efficient land use form

Downtown provides a mix of residential, commercial and institutional uses in a very compact amount of land

Economic Benefit

Downtown is a relatively small commercial district that provides a high concentration of jobs, economic activity, retail spending, and tax revenue.

Has Downtown realized its full potential?

  • Downtown is a great community asset. How are we doing based on the vision that was developed 10 years ago?
  • If the answer to this question is “more work to do”, how do we, as a community, achieve our goals and expectations for Downtown.
  • Emphasis will be placed on the “How”.
    • How do we achieve our goal?
    • How do we turn a great idea into a tangible, impactful action? (Ie. Prototyping)
    • How do we get from dream to reality?