News

Facer Street facelift going to back to council

By Karena Walter, The Standard

Derek Kedzierski of St. Joseph Bakery and Roberto Vergalito of Roberto's Pizza Passion are photographed on Facer Street where their businesses are located and where the First Facer European Festival will take place on the Civic Holiday long weekend. Photo taken on Tuesday, July 19, 2016. Julie Jocsak/ St. Catharines Standard/ Postmedia Network  

Derek Kedzierski of St. Joseph Bakery and Roberto Vergalito of Roberto's Pizza Passion are photographed on Facer Street where their businesses are located and where the First Facer European Festival will take place on the Civic Holiday long weekend. Photo taken on Tuesday, July 19, 2016. Julie Jocsak/ St. Catharines Standard/ Postmedia Network  

A facelift for Facer Street was supported in principle by the city’s budget committee Thursday, which is recommending council put dollars towards exploring the idea.

The standing budget committee passed a motion asking council to commit $10,000 from the civic project fund for a vision and conceptual design for Facer Street revitalization.

Council is expected to see the motion at Monday’s regularly scheduled meeting.

Facer Street, north of the QEW off Niagara Street, was the site of the first Facer Street European Festival in August, launched by the Facer District Merchants and Residents Association to raise money for revitalization and beautification of the street.

In December, St. George’s Coun. Mike Britton proposed that council spend $60,000 for a consultant to seek public input and develop a design for an improved Facer Street by the end of the first quarter of 2017.

But some councillors questioned if they could save money by having city staff could do the job instead. The issue was sent to the budget committee.

A report to the committee Thursday said staff are working on 15 road reconstruction projects approved as part of previous budgets and which occupy a significant amount of staff time. The report said there isn’t enough staff to get to Facer Street that quickly.

The report said a “visioning or pre-design” exercise would be beneficial in better defining the scope of work before a detailed design is ordered.

Transportation and engineering director Dan Dillon said a visioning exercise would include public consultation and input from businesses and residents on the street about what they want, such as types of lighting, wider sidewalks and number of trees.

It could help focus in on whether council thinks the whole street should be redesigned or just a section.

The report laid out some costs for details such as using asphalt for a road reconstruction versus coloured stamped concrete, which would cost more than twice as much.

Dillon said it’s difficult to estimate the costs of a makeover until closer to the tendering stage when the scope of the design is known.

“At this stage in the game, your cost estimates will be varied because of what you’re looking at.”

Britton revamped his original motion Thursday asking that the $10,000 be committed so that first step of the process could get rolling.

kwalter@postmedia.com