The Cloverdale Business Improvement Association is embarking on an ambitious parking lot improvement project in the downtown business district of Cloverdale. About $80,000 of upgrades to an alleyway and three parking lots just off of 176A Street has been proposed.
The project is in its initial stages, and the BIA continues to iron out details with the City of Surrey.
The initial proposal from the BIA was to make the parking lots at 5751 176A Street safer, cleaner and more efficient by re-striping the lots, re-organizing the garbage containers on site, and improving the lighting to the area. They budgeted $20,000 for the project, which was approved by its membership at an annual general meeting in 2018.
The lots were under a spotlight in 2018 when the City of Surrey proposed to move the lots to another part of downtown Cloverdale, after finding that the public parking in the town centre exceeded the current demand. The Cloverdale BIA took issue with that finding, as the city’s parking survey did not line up with the day-to-day experience of Cloverdale businesses and their customers.
After feedback from the BIA and Cloverdale residents, the City of Surrey committed to undertaking a new parking survey, the results of which will be presented in the new, yet to be revealed Cloverdale Town Centre Plan.
With the future of the lots secured, the Cloverdale BIA moved forward with their proposal to improve them. After consultation with the City of Surrey, however, the project expanded. According to a BIA report, an idea came forward to go further and not only improve the lot but create a “revered public space” that could host special community events.
The alleyway and the parking lots are adjacent to 176A Street. The BIA is proposing that current events along 176 Street, such as the Cloverdale Arts and Entertainment Association’s Market Days, might expand to include the alleyway. Events that take place along 176A Street, such as the annual bed races in May, might expand to include the parking lots.
The project includes two city-owned parking lots and an adjacent private parking lot owned by the Joseph Richard Group. It also includes an alleyway behind the JRG-owned Henry Public House and Nana’s Antiques, dubbed the King Street Alley by the BIA in recognition of 176A’s historic street name.
The new project would potentially include installing electrical boxes to provide power to festivals and special events, putting in decorative lighting, landscaping the area with benches and planters, and installing murals on the backs of the buildings that face the parking lot and 176A Street.
Yalda Asadian, community enhancement manager for the City of Surrey, said that as the city and BIA were “brainstorming, we saw a potential for the project. It is a great opportunity to add some beautification components to the land and make it a placemaking project, rather than just a parking lot.”
Although the city has been involved, of course, with many parking lot improvement projects over the years, the King Street Alley Project is unique.
The project will be tackled in different phases. In the first phase, the BIA will spend its budgeted $20,000, said Asadian, and the city will make donations of in-kind services. The BIA is in the process of applying for a series of grants, she said, but there is no estimate of funding that she could give the Reporter.
For now, the project is “in conversation,” said Asadian, and no final details or timeline has been determined.
“I think the BIA and the City of Surrey are really excited to work on this unique project,” she said. “We think it will bring a lot of value to downtown Cloverdale.”
The BIA is working to co-ordinate a placemaking forum, where locals could weigh in on the future of the downtown business district, and the potential for additional heritage components, public art and storyboards for the area. The forum would also take in ideas for Hawthorne Square and Oasis Square, two public spaces along 176 Street. The King Street Alley Project would be officially “unveiled” at this forum, which does not have a set date.
The Cloverdale BIA was not available for comment. When the Reporter spoke to BIA executive director Paul Orazietti in November, he said that he expected the re-striping of the parking lots to occur before spring, and that garbage enclosures would be installed before May. The “extras,” such as the proposed murals and decorative lighting, will be for a future phase of the project.