Our View: Making downtown a livelier place

It’s time to liven up Grand Forks’ downtown area.

The downtown core seems to become a Ghost Town once the clock strikes 5 p.m. with a number of businesses shutting down for the day.

There are businesses that open past that time but for the most part, there is little activity in areas such as Market Avenue during the evening hours. Businesses have tried to get people out at night, with some inviting music acts at night during the summer but often there were lack of attendees.

At the last city council meeting, the subject of making downtown better was brought up and council will be looking to talk with downtown businesses on how to better the centre of the city and it is high time in our opinion – a lively downtown core is good for a city and will encourage people to get out.

During Moonlight Madness, after the Santa Parade last year, the number of people walking up and down the main strip lent to a festive atmosphere and it wasn’t just because it was Christmas time either.

There are a number of ways that a livelier downtown core could be achieved, with one coming from the Grand Forks Gazette.

Columnist Roy Ronaghan suggested in a Nov. 17 piece that maybe Market Ave. should be closed off to become a one-way street.

Robson Street (or parts of the street at least) in Vancouver was closed off during the Winter Olympics and as documented by the media and actual accounts, it added to the vibrancy and the atmosphere and the same can be said of Ottawa’s Sparks Street.

There are a number of grants out there and maybe city council could look into one that could be used to spruce up the city centre.

More events like Moonlight Madness wouldn’t hurt either. Maybe downtown businesses could extend hours once a month in a manner similar to Moonlight Madness or maybe seasonal festivals can be held, where downtown businesses stay open longer.

Let’s get everyone out to the downtown core when the sun goes down.

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