On Sept. 11, Naheed Nenshi released a detailed a proposal for a brand new cultural and entertainment village
Many SAIT students live in inner city areas close to the River District and are very interested in the proposed changes.
“I’m always down for art development.” said journalism student Mitchell Danser, “As for the new stadium, I say no, the current stadium does what it needs to do.”
This announcement has been controversial and elicited many responses as the replacement of the Saddledome has long been a point of contention in the city.
“I’m all about urban development…but being a homeowner, as well, I don’t want my taxes, including my property taxes, affected by it,” said Brad Van Olm, a fourth-year heavy duty mechanic student at SAIT.
Recently the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC) released their own plan for the stadium replacement where they offered to pay $275 million of the costs and also included in their proposal an additional $225 million, which would come from a community revitalization levy.
The Flames later said that they are no longer interested in being part of the project.
President of the CSEC, Ken King, has condemned the entertainment village proposal saying, “They’re not interested in our deal. And we’re not interested in theirs.”
With varying opinions on the matter from both city officials and citizens, a concern for many is the allocation of the funds required for the project as well the impact on taxes.
“I think the overview sounds nice. That’s definitely an area where the demographic is right.
“People already hang out there because of the downtown vibes and I think the entertainment aspect would add a lot to it,” said first-year dental assisting student, Jenn Tocher.
“But I’d like to know about funding and if that money could be better spent somewhere else.”
Beside a new arena, the concept for this village includes a rebuilding of Olympic Plaza, an expanded Arts Commons, and several other features to continue economic growth in the River District, which includes East Village, Victoria Park and the eastern parts of downtown.
East Village has already been significantly revitalized over the past several years with the addition of the National Music Centre and many housing units. Nenshi is hoping to keep the progress moving forward.
The city is still finalizing the details and no further information on a start date or specific details on the revitalization projects are available at this time.