On May 11, 2015, the City of Belleville officially broke ground on phase 1 of an ambitious downtown infrastructure and streetscape renewal. Designed by Office for Responsive Environments with LEA Consulting Engineers, the City Centre Revitalization Project combines the replacement or upgrade of most of the municipal and private utility infrastructure in the downtown with a modernized streetscape design that will improve the pedestrian environment and atmosphere of the city’s retail core. Phase 1 of the rebuild stretches more than 500 m along Front Street and Station Street, from Victoria Avenue to Church Street.
Both the underground and streetscape work are seen as prerequisites for reinvestment in downtown properties and for a variety of proposed new development projects that are expected to move forward over the next few years. The municipal watermain beneath Front Street dates to the 1880s, while the streetscape was last replaced in the early 1980s and has not aged well. ORE’s new street layout and pavement and planter designs will provide a more attractive and accessible streetscape, with new trees and understory plantings offering year-round interest and colour.
The project’s design phase, carried out in 2014, included extensive public consultation, outreach and engagement activities, as well as the design and construction of three “kickstart” sites demonstrating material approaches that will now be implemented on Belleville’s main street. Phases 2 and 3 of the project will be tendered separately, with construction following in future years.