This action research joined the experiences and opinions of residents, business or and property owners, service providers and other diverse stakeholders towards the building of a vibrant, economically healthy downtown district in Sault Ste. Marie. Over the period of one year, more than 1000 participants, passionate about the future of the city’s downtown core, drew attention to its strengths, potential, and areas for improvement. Among the projects that emerged from this work are the Graffiti Reframed project and the Neighbourhood Resource Centre. Of the many valuable partnerships that contributed to this research, the SSMPS provided the much-needed backbone support to the large-scale change envisioned by the participants in the Downtown Dialogue in Action project. It recommended a series of strategies to strengthen social cohesion, foster a healthy downtown economy, address the needs of “at-risk” neighbourhoods and people, and to increase access to the necessities of life, with oversight by a coordinating committee that brought together all levels of government, civil society and business.
Dr. Gayle Broad, Sean Meades, Tom Green, Dana Chalifoux, Jessica Bolduc