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Spring Garden Road streetscaping project takes next step

A tender that released last week details the redesign that will potentially finish by the end of this year
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Spring Garden Road (Meghan Groff/HalifaxToday.ca)

A recent construction tender for Spring Garden Road's streetscaping project is a step forward for the busy downtown Halifax road after being delayed several times.

The tender, which was released March 8 and closes March 30, plans for a revitalization of the portion of Spring Garden Road from South Park to Queen streets.

“It wasn’t very much of a difficult decision for us as an association,” says Sue Uteck, president of the Spring Garden Area Business Association. “Realizing we have no cruise season, few visitors and currently have government support programs in place, there was your first positive.

“Quite frankly, I was afraid that this was the third start on this project that if it was delayed again that HRM would simply walk away, which they have in the past.”

It's a $10 million project that will potentially begin in early May and finish in November.

While the tender lists a completion date of Spring 2023, Uteck says that's just a worst-case scenario.

The project includes 29 new trees with lighting, nearly 700 new perennials and shrubs, 30 bike racks in the area, new furniture including benches and 47 per cent wider sidewalks.

After several downtown businesses were faced with hardship during the streetscape on Argyle and Grafton streets, Uteck said 

“Quite frankly, we’ve learned a lot of mistakes from Argyle (Street) and that’s what we’re hoping to avoid here are on Spring Garden,” she told NEWS 95.7's The Rick Howe Show.

During the project's construction, the affected sidewalks will remain open and all stores will be accessible.

On top of that, Uteck said a “robust” marketing plan is being created to help support businesses on Spring Garden Road.

However, Uteck said one sidewalk will "disappear" during the project's construction.

Last year, the Mills Brothers building was torn down to make way for a $100 million mixed-use development.

Once the streetscape construction finishes, a temporary sidewalk will be created for that block as construction begins on the new building.

As Spring Garden Road gets revitalized, Uteck is also thinking of longer-term issues. One includes creating a public washroom facility.

“Currently, the only washroom facilities we have are the Central Library and the Public Gardens,” she said. “It’s an issue that everyone seems to want to avoid.”

She said Victoria Park at the corner of Spring Garden Road and South Park Street is an ideal location.

Halifax Transit also announced new changes coming to its system later this year, but Uteck hasn't yet discussed any changes to Spring Garden Road.

The Spring Garden Streetscape project gained some traction in 2018 but has been on hold ever since.

Late last year, a portion of the project also made progress as some side streets were changed to one-ways and an intersection was created.

“I’m choosing to stay positive on this project,” she said. “it’s been long overdue."

People can stay up-to-date with weekly emails about the project by signing up at info@springgardenarea.com.




Chris Stoodley

About the Author: Chris Stoodley

Chris was born and raised in Halifax. After graduating from the journalism program at King's, he started as CityNews Halifax's weekend editor.
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