Lethbridge rose from the flat prairie brick-by-brick in the late 19th and 20th centuries. Each one of those bricks, and the buildings they came to be, are part of the unique historical flavour of our downtown core.
Over the decades a significant number of our historic downtown buildings had fallen into disrepair. Fortunately, many of them still retained the character defining elements that their builders intended. All they needed was a ‘splash’ of TLC to burst back to their original splendour.
That ‘splash’ came courtesy of the Alberta Main Street Program (AMSP). The AMSP, initiated in 1987 by the provincial government, has expanded into a vigorous, cost-effective and successful network. It is a prime source of downtown revitalization and historic preservation expertise.
The City of Lethbridge and the Downtown Lethbridge BRZ have been part of the AMSP since 2000. As an urban-district initiative, the Lethbridge Main Street Project receives annual funding for building rehabilitation projects through the Heart of Our City Revitalization Committee. Additional funding is also available to property owners of historic buildings through the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation (AHRF). AHRF funding is only available to building owners who successfully qualify for Municipal Designation.
Owners of eligible historic buildings have availed themselves of the assistance and funding to complete a number of restoration and enhancements projects, creating attractively finished buildings that add grace and style to the architectural landscape. Completed projects also provide a much-needed economic benefit to the downtown commercial district.
The investment made by the Alberta Government, the City of Lethbridge and the private sector has allowed the community to preserve its historic buildings and revitalize the downtown at the same time. Since the inception of the Lethbridge Main Street Project in 2000, property owners have invested millions of dollars into their buildings. This significant investment has helped to focus considerable positive attention on the downtown area.
For more information on the Lethbridge Main Street Project and Municipal Designation, please contact Ted Stilson at the Downtown BRZ – (403) 327-9002.