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Ribbon cutting for new downtown planned for Oct. 27—bring your helicopter!
by Andrew Bennett on 03 Oct 2012
Plans for a grand re-opening of the downtown core following a summer of major renovations are coming together as the project's Communication Task Force works with the Rossland Chamber of Commerce and others to put together a street party on Oct. 27.
Coun. Jody Blomme, a task force member, reported to council on Sept. 17 that the original date of Oct. 20 might not be the best. "In conversations that our staff have had with the project heads," she said, "it seems like maybe a better idea would be to be safe and schedule the end celebration for [Oct. 27] instead of [Oct. 20]. It's not necessarily that they're anticipating delays, but I think it's a bit more in their comfort level. That way we're not stuck in a hard place."
The idea was first raised publicly by Coun. Cary Fisher at the Sept. 4 council meeting.
"I'm assuming we're having a ribbon-cutting at some point for this thing, right?" he asked. "We can invite everyone out to have a bit of street party, so people can see the new street and the new stuff, shop in the stores, and buy coffee and stuff from here and there and everywhere."
He'd already heard the suggestion from businesses in town "to print up some invitations, invite people to the opening, and work with Chamber of Commerce on a Rossland potluck or whatever."
Fisher' added, "You could have it along with a walking tour to explain some of the other things that might be coming down the road."
He explained that a big motivation for the party would be to inject some life back into Rossland's downtown economy.
"It may not be as rosy [for downtown businesses] as we're painting it, and a lot of people are putting on pretty brave faces," he said. "Retail is down a lot in town. To their credit, the businesses that I've spoken with understand that the work had to be done, and they're stoically putting up with it at the moment. While some may be more vocal than others, it's pretty much across the board—they deserve a lot of credit."
"I know that the contractor's doing a good job, and I know that the staff is trying to communicate as much as possible. I know everyone's trying," he continued. "But the comments I've heard from some people regarding, 'suck it up, Princess'—and they're not coming from us, it's just out there—it's tough. Those are families struggling to get by every day. Just a little more empathy towards them is worthy."
"So a grand re-opening or something—something for them," he finished.
Mayor Greg Granstrom responded, "Renee [Clark of the Chamber of Commerce] is on the Communication Task Force, and we're working closely with her and with our team to put something together to bring to council for that grand opening. We're talking exactly about some public event. We're talking about a group photo downtown, with everybody who wants to come and stand on main street. We're developing ideas right now, and the Chamber is definitely part of that."
"This is a ridiculous idea," Fisher added, "but if you had a photographer up on the tallest building, and the whole town was out…"
"That isn't ridiculous," Granstrom laughed. "We were talking about a helicopter this morning!"
"We can put that picture on an invitation to the rest of the world," Fisher said. "Come to Rossland, check out our new digs. I think those kind of things will be worthy for my business and everyone else. I'd pay for a picture and put it in the clubhouse. Not many people rebuild their town, and we've done that, essentially."
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