It was four years ago that Edmonton on the Edge started focusing on the Alley of Light. Led by former councillor Michael Phair, the project aimed to reclaim a lost urban space, in this case the alley behind the former Sobeys between Beaver Hills Park and 103 Street. Since that time the group has organized a number of popular events in the alley and they’ve worked with the City to reimagine what it could look like. Any physical changes in the alley have been temporary (such as the year they painted the pavement with bright colors and designs), until now.
One component of the Alley of Light is the pocket park immediately adjacent to the Icon residential tower. Funding to reconstruct the park became available as part of the Downtown CRL, and work began on the project over the summer. An update from Michael Phair outlined what would be happening:
“The work to be undertaken includes removal of existing paving stone, concrete curbing and paving, granular surfacing and amenities and will be replaced with new lock stone, concrete verge with standard and LED light up bollards, retaining walls, power distribution box, security lighting to match 104 Street, bistro chairs and tables (seating for 64), garbage receptacles, shrub and tree planting with bark mulch and irrigation.”
The work isn’t completely finished yet, but on December 18, 2014, Customer Appreciation Day on 104 Street, the newly renovated park officially opened!
Michael Phair, Councillor Scott McKeen, DECL’s Ian O’Donnell, Jon Hall and Ed Fong of the 104 Street Steering Committee, Duncan Fraser from the City of Edmonton, and even Santa, were on hand to deliver remarks to mark the occasion.
All of them spoke about the need for green spaces in the downtown area, and about the positive impact this pocket park will have on the quality of life for nearby residents.
Here’s what the pocket park looked like four years ago:
And here’s what it looks like today:
It’s a little hard to tell with all the snow, but much more of the park is actually usable now. Seating and tables need to be added however. I’m hopeful that some additional light will be added too, as the northwest corner is pretty dark at the moment (as you can see below) and already a few of the LED bollards are not working. Still, the work done thus far will definitely make the park more usable and attractive.
To my knowledge, the park doesn’t have an official name. But I would second the suggestion to name it after Michael Phair in recognition of all the effort he has put into the project! Michael has demonstrated that you really can get things done if you’re persistent, patient, and collaborative.
Come on down to the promenade and check it out! And if you haven’t already done so, take a stroll down 104 Street at night too. The lights make for a pretty magical walk!
Just another reason to ❤ YEGDT!