DDC celebrates 20th year

Everton McLean
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Special events, projects planned to mark anniversary

The Downtown Development Commission (DDC) celebrated 20 years of working to improve the St. John's core Tuesday, highlighting the celebration with a promise this year will be a busy one for the commission.

Scott Cluney, executive director of the DDC, said the organization has done a lot over the past two decades to revitalize one of the oldest downtowns in North America.

Downtown Development Commission executive director Scott Cluney speaks Tuesday at the organization's 20th anniversary celebrations. - Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram

The Downtown Development Commission (DDC) celebrated 20 years of working to improve the St. John's core Tuesday, highlighting the celebration with a promise this year will be a busy one for the commission.

Scott Cluney, executive director of the DDC, said the organization has done a lot over the past two decades to revitalize one of the oldest downtowns in North America.

Speaking during a party held at City Hall, Cluney said the most important project by the commission was likely the downtown streets revitalization project, which started back in the late 1980s, and which he credits for contributing to the near zero vacancy rate in the highest levels of office space.

In addition, the commission has been involved in creating green space, holding special events such as the Christmas parade and improving parking issues, Cluney said.

The organization plans to increase its activity this year to mark the milestone.

"What we've identified for our 20th anniversary we've divided into two different types of projects - legacy type projects and special anniversary events," Cluney said.

Those include green space development, such as a parkette being created with several partners on Queen Street and Gower Street, summer outdoor movie screenings with Nickel Film Festival organizers, the busker festival and the Christmas parade.

From April 26 to May 2, the DDC will also hold Dine Around, promoting downtown dining.

"We're planning on trying to do something different every month as we go through, whether that be a special event or project," Cluney said.

Mayor Dennis O'Keefe praised the work done by the commission and its co-operation with the city.

"I have no fear in saying the downtown core, Water Street, Duckworth Street, all that area and the waterfront are essentially, together, the heart and soul of the City of St. John's," O'Keefe said. "It will continue to be the heart of the city."

However, he said maintaining and improving the downtown can only continue if the city and the DDC work side by side.

"We will continue to work with the DDC to make sure the downtown area is a prime attraction for the City of St. John's," O'Keefe said.

emclean@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Downtown Development Commission

Geographic location: St. John's, North America, Queen Street Gower Street Water Street Duckworth Street

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Recent comments

  • Donny
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    Hats off to the DDC. After 20 years all I see downtown is traffic jams, sidewalks and curbs full of snow, making it difficult to get around. Every second building is vacant and boarded up. The cobblestone section of Water St. is like riding over railway ties. Parking is a joke and the street is full of dudes asking for spare change or smokes. Well done!

  • Dave IN NL
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    The DUC needs to actually promote infrastrucutre development in downtown, before we lose most major companies to Donovan's Industrial Park....where locations are currently being scouted by major oil companies now.
    The development Regulations are a joke. Supported by local architects and largely based on their recommendations, the building size limitations defined in the Regulations make the local market unattractive to the larger national architectural firms. The Regs serve to sustain the small firms who cannot compete and may not be capable of a larger office tower project. It is protectionist at its best and some councillors have fell for it (i.e. Frank and Shannie).
    Secondly, it is hard to reconcile that downtown was largely charred ruins until substantial rebuilding in the 10's and 20's and yet the Regs do not accept new-builds fitting for that era.
    Lastly, the emperor has no clothes. I challenge anyone to park on Southside Road and look over the harbour toward the downtown focusing on Harbour Drive, Water Street, Duckworth Street structure. It has to be one of the ugliest urban landscapes in Eastern Canada. Who are we kidding?
    We have some nice old buildings, a bunch of funny coloured houses, and a cacophony of dumps which regulations will not remedy. Drop the regulations, build, and attract people.
    Residents make a city, not eight cruise ships a year.

  • Donny
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    Hats off to the DDC. After 20 years all I see downtown is traffic jams, sidewalks and curbs full of snow, making it difficult to get around. Every second building is vacant and boarded up. The cobblestone section of Water St. is like riding over railway ties. Parking is a joke and the street is full of dudes asking for spare change or smokes. Well done!

  • Dave IN NL
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    The DUC needs to actually promote infrastrucutre development in downtown, before we lose most major companies to Donovan's Industrial Park....where locations are currently being scouted by major oil companies now.
    The development Regulations are a joke. Supported by local architects and largely based on their recommendations, the building size limitations defined in the Regulations make the local market unattractive to the larger national architectural firms. The Regs serve to sustain the small firms who cannot compete and may not be capable of a larger office tower project. It is protectionist at its best and some councillors have fell for it (i.e. Frank and Shannie).
    Secondly, it is hard to reconcile that downtown was largely charred ruins until substantial rebuilding in the 10's and 20's and yet the Regs do not accept new-builds fitting for that era.
    Lastly, the emperor has no clothes. I challenge anyone to park on Southside Road and look over the harbour toward the downtown focusing on Harbour Drive, Water Street, Duckworth Street structure. It has to be one of the ugliest urban landscapes in Eastern Canada. Who are we kidding?
    We have some nice old buildings, a bunch of funny coloured houses, and a cacophony of dumps which regulations will not remedy. Drop the regulations, build, and attract people.
    Residents make a city, not eight cruise ships a year.