Town to revitilize much-maligned downtown medians

June 5, 2020   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Baker

The downtown median along Broadway is set to receive a $28,000 facelift this summer. 

As part of a several-phase initiative to re-beautify the downtown area, the median, much-maligned by many in the community, will see its first substantial investment since it was constructed back in 2006. The project is to be funded through the Main Street Revitalization program, administered by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and approved by Orangeville Council back in 2018, and will include the installation of new plants, the purchase of new benches, pathway improvements and lighting enhancements at the site.

Ray Osmond, the Town’s General Manager of Community Services, informed Council that, as part of the work, many of the trees that line the three medians must be removed.

“Many of the trees are in poor to fair structural, or biological condition. These trees were planted in 2006, with the intention to be removed after five years,” Mr. Osmond said. “The intention was that the trees could be transplanted and put elsewhere. Now, they’re gone way too far. The chances of these trees successfully surviving a transplant is extremely thin.”

Coun. Grant Peters asked, with a sidewalk development of Broadway expected to get underway later this year, if some of the trees could be saved and planted in designated spots along the sidewalk. Mr. Osmond said staff would investigate that possibility. 

The Town’s community services department is working with the Orangeville Business Improvement Area (OBIA) to engage local businesses, and groups such as Orangeville’s Optimist Club, for further ideas. One particular point of discussion was plans Town staff have to introduce seasonal lighting, for holidays such as Christmas and Valentine’s Day, along the medians, and other areas of the downtown core. 

In a press release distributed to media, the three medians along Broadway are described by the Town as representation of “Orangeville’s evolution from natural forest to a mill-based village to an urban centre”. 

The most easterly median, located outside Town Hall, features a statue of Orangeville Lawrence, the founder of the Town, alongside a pergola with stone columns and a white cedar roof structure. The central median features a clock tower, which was originally built and installed on the old town post office in 1936. It remained there until the post office was demolished in 1963. Upon demolition, the clock was stored in the basement at Town Hall for quite some time, before eventually being restored and made a central component of the downtown median project. The westerly median features a waterfall, with water falling in four directions representing the fact that Orangeville sits at the headwaters of four river systems. 

Coun. Todd Taylor said he would like to see the Town do a better job of maintaining the medians on a more regular basis moving forward. While he acknowledges there are many local residents who don’t love the downtown medians, he is a big proponent of them.

“It’s a central piece of our town. When you’re doing your downtown walks, or having a coffee at Mochaberry, what a pleasure to be able to look at that during the summertime,” Coun. Taylor said.

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