People in Edmonton's inner city will see a new high school and a new recreation centre developed over the next five years as part of a downtown revitalization project, city officials announced Tuesday.
The city hopes the proposed Boyle Renaissance project, planned for the area between 95 Street and 96 Street, from 103A Avenue north to the LRT tracks, will eventually provide housing for about 900 homeless and at-risk people who frequent the area.
"This will be one of a kind in Canada. We'll begin to deal with the realities of the problems we face in the inner city," Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel declared at the announcement.
"There are a multitude of people who need help, not just the homeless, and Boyle Renaissance is going to look at that."
Mandel said he hopes the announcement is a step toward seeing the areas east of the downtown core becoming vibrant communities.
In addition to the Boyle Renaissance project, the city is also looking at redeveloping in an 18-block area to the south called "the Quarters." The hope is to turn an underused and rundown section of Jasper Avenue into trendy shops and housing for about 20,000 people.
Plans for a new high school have been in the works since last fall, when the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation announced it would raise funds for the $30 million project. The building would provide a permanent home for an education program for disadvantaged kids that now works out of temporary facilities
The YMCA is also proposing to build a welcome centre as part of the Boyle Renaissance project to help immigrants and other newcomers get established in the city.
Monday's announcement is very preliminary. The city is still working on acquiring land for the project. City council has committed $20 million to the project, and other partners are still fundraising.
Mandel said he would like to see the first stages of the project come together in four to five years.