Until now, it has been just rumour and speculation that something fairly big was about to happen for the Pleasant Hill area of Saskatoon. Now, it’s official.
Mayor Don Atchison, Premier Lorne Calvert , and National Revenue Minister Carol Skelton have finally announced the details of a cooperative initiative between the city, the province and the federal government to begin some much needed redevelopment in the Pleasant Hill area. The renewal project will be funded through the Urban Development Agreement with $1.71 million coming from the City of Saskatoon. The province and the federal Department of Western Economic Diversification will each pick up $789,471 of the cost.
The plan involves leveling 29 properties, including commercial buildings on 20th Street between Avenue O and Avenue N, and the homes located on the 300 and 400 blocks of both of these avenues. Some cash will be invested in improving the infrastructure through out the entire neighbourhood to bring it up to today’s standards for commercial and residential development.
Once the land has been cleared it will be sold to Saskatchewan Housing for $1 so that it can be developed for affordable housing. Mayor Atchison estimates that new development could pump $20 to $30 million into the Saskatoon economy.
There was no further word on much needed improvements to St. Mary Community School, the venue for this special announcement; however Premier Calvert did bring hope that a result may not be far off. “I know full well that there are plans in the works for replacement of the school.” The land which is being redeveloped surrounds the school and community leaders are hopeful that a “community centre” can find a place in the plan.
This is the second major initiative undertaken in the Pleasant Hill area by the three levels of government. Last year, they funded demolition of an old strip mall and a warehouse. The three parcels of land which were liberated through the project will eventually become home to Station 20 West , a multi-purpose development which is expected to be home to a public library, a grocery store and various other area amenities.
Both of these initiatives will be great for Pleasant Hill home owners who haven’t seen nearly as much growth in property values as most other areas in Saskatoon over the last decade. In 2006, the average selling price of a home in the area was under $70,000, while the average for Saskatoon topped $170,000.