A news magazine for Central Edmonton is long overdue. I’ve seen our neighbourhood transform since becoming president of the Downtown Edmonton Community League (DECL) in 2007. Having celebrated our 10th anniversary as a league last year, The Yards is part of DECL’s evolution in that it underscores the growing desire to live downtown. A more vibrant downtown.
This new partnership with our sister league to the west, Oliver, is a chance for us to express and explore issues in our communities. A news magazine gives us the opportunity to showcase why living centrally is not only possible but favourable— and not just for students and young people, but for all walks of life. It also focuses on why the successes of Downtown and Oliver are vital to the prosperity of our city as a whole.
It has and continues to be one of the fastest growing neighbourhoods in the city. Living downtown in the late 1990s as an “urban pioneer,” I was proud of my early and continued contribution to the revitalization efforts on my street of old warehouses. As our community grows, so too do the efforts of DECL.
Last year the opening of our first community room, an inviting and previously under-utilized retail space in a parkade, was a major milestone. We adapted the traditional idea of a community hall for our urban reality, created a hub and helped animate the street.
In the years to come, we hope to celebrate the building of a new community park for the Warehouse Campus Area, a project DECL has been advocating for five years.
Alex Decoteau Park is named after Canada’s first aboriginal police officer, Olympic athlete and First World War soldier. He walked the “beat” in the very area the park will soon exist, on the northwest corner of 105 St. and 102 Ave. Located directly north of a future LRT stop, it will be home to many amenities serving residents’ needs with plenty of grass and seating, a community garden, water feature and fenced dog area.
So much of what is now being built are projects and issues we’ve had the privilege (and often frustration) of working hard to realize. Whether we’re talking about the Edmonton Arena District or The Yards, there is a lot of exciting changes coming. That’s why I continue volunteering with DECL.
The Yards staff and editorial board are just as committed to Edmonton’s core as we are. This is our way to connect with residents, businesses, civic leaders and regular Edmontonians about the special place we call “home.”