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Memorial Square redevelopment cost jumps over $5 million

It will be a place for pedestrians that links parks with the waterfront when Memorial Square is transformed
Memorial Square in downtown Barrie is getting a $5 million makeover this year. Robin MacLennan/BarrieToday

A plan to throw about a million additional dollars at Memorial Square will need Council approval next Monday.

The suggestion to increase funding for an overhaul and redevelopment of the popular downtown area was approved by general committee without debate.

A motion to add $945,538 to the budget, brings the total capital cost for the overhaul to about $5.2 million.

It's an added expense that will be shared by the downtown Business Improvement Area (BIA) and the city.

It's been almost two years since council approved Meridian Credit Union Ltd. as the key sponsor for the project. A $750,000 funding commitment gave Meridian naming rights for the area at 65 Dunlop St. E., stretching from the Memorial Square cenotaph area to Simcoe Street.

Meridian Place is the name chosen through Meridian's Name Your City Space online vote, in which Barrie residents were asked to pick their favourite name from a list of three.

The transformation will include closing Fred Grant Square and a focus away from vehicles to foot traffic.

When complete, the "new" Memorial Square will be a large urban square linked to Kempenfelt Bay and inviting for pedestrians.

Council describes the area as a "people place for events, festivals and activities. A performance stage is included in the approved plan.

Existing roads will be replaced with wider, sloped avenues for pedestrians along each side of the square - creating a continuous link to nearby Heritage PARK.

The cenotaph will be moved to a central spot in the park, increasing prominence and space for military ceremonies such as Remembrance Day, Battle of Britain, Battle of the Atlantic.

Council has assured the community that the downtown park will continue to honour its historical recognition of Canadian veterans from the First World War, the Second World War and military conflicts since 1945.


Robin MacLennan

About the Author: Robin MacLennan

Robin MacLennan has been a reporter, photographer and editor for the daily media in Barrie, across Simcoe County and Toronto for many years. She is a proud member of the Barrie community.
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