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Tree lighting upgrade project planned for Market Avenue

The Market District of Grand Forks will have a little more glitter in the future.

The Boundary Country Regional Chamber of Commerce wants to buy LED lights for eight trees to start in the downtown. The project would be phased in over time with possibly up to 24 trees lit.

It’s asked city council for help with the installation, tree trimming and maintenance.

BCRCC Executive Director Sarah Dinsdale says it will reduce risk and improve overall safety.

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“Our downtown core is changing for the better. We have a lot more nightlife down there now and having something like this will really improve the accessibility, safety for seniors, families, those that are out enjoying the nightlife downtown,” Dinsdale said.

Councillors are supportive overall of the project.

Christine Thompson, the city’s chamber liaison, thinks it’s an excellent idea.

“I think it will help to deter any vandalism when there is that kind of lighting and it will certainly help protect our business community,” she said.

CAO Duncan Redfearn says the ask can “fit into our program” but the only caveat is some trees may die as the city upgrades the infrastructure underground along Market Avenue under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP), which has to be completed by the end of 2026.

The city received roughly $3.4 million in 2021 for the storm water drainage improvements in the downtown core, which will cost about $4.2 million to complete.

“I can’t guarantee that those trees will be there in three years,” Redfearn explained. “We would like to leave the trees but depending on what we find as we get into the ground and as we start working on our storm management and depending on what council wants to do.”

Redfearn says it may be an opportunity for city council to take a big picture look at what the downtown looks like in the future.

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