Last week a cross section of Red Deerians met formally for the first time to talk about the feasibility of establishing a year round public market.
With little advertising, except for a few facebook messages and one newspaper story, the idea still resonated strong enough for 20 citizens to gather at the Scott Block and voice their desire to not only see a public market happen, but perhaps more importantly, to lift the City out of its post recession lethargy and get into action.
Prior to the collapse of the world, national and provincial economies in 2008 the mood in Red Deer was robust. It was then a City approaching almost 90,000 citizens and anything seemed possible. This was witnessed spectacularly at the open houses for the redevelopment of the Riverlands district.
But when the economic downfall occurred the City and its citizenry went into sleep mode.
Red Deerians understandably opted to focus on the basics – jobs and security – rather than bold dreams such as leaping towards a mega project like the Riverlands development.
But now there is a new feeling brewing with Red Deerians, one with growing conviction that an awakening must be made now and the City needs to once again embrace action.
This is not to say the City should open its already stretched public purse to ideas that are beyond its means. But it should at least seize the notion that there are creative ways to make things happen while remaining fiscally responsible.
A year-round public market has been discussed for almost a decade. At the time the open houses were held for future development in the Riverlands the idea once again came to the forefront.
Although the City continues to do preliminary site work in the district it is time to start seriously considering a project – one that is modest in scope and within its means – to jump start public excitement, like what was felt at the 2008 open houses when Red Deerians briefly experienced the notion that bigger and bolder was within its grasp.
The City must be given credit at this point for agreeing to do an environmental assessment at the old bus barns where a year round public market is now being proposed. There are serious issues at the site, notably heating, parking and accessibility.
But as what was clearly apparent last week at the Scott Block Red Deerians have an enviable edge. There is a proud tradition of entrepreneurship and creative thinkers. If there is a collective will there will most certainly be a way to get things done.
It may be too optimistic to hope that a year round public market will be ready by the fall but the idea is now in motion. And that is action and momentum. More citizens and talent are bound to join and contribute.
Best of all a bigger and better future will be there for the taking.