Jane's Walk 2016 on Stittsville Main Street. Photo by Barry Gray.

2016 REWIND: It happened on Stittsville Main

(The Stittsville Jane’s Walk makes a stop in front of Hudson’s Insurance on Stittsville Main Street. Photo by Barry Gray.)

At the start of January of this year I wrote: “Compared to this time last year, I’d say the prospects for Stittsville Main Street are definitely looking up.” The same thing could be said today as well.  It’s been an encouraging year.

I’ve been involved in a couple of events this year that have clearly demonstrated the interest and passion that people have for our traditional main street. Back in June, 40 people joined me for the first-ever Stittsville Jane’s Walk, part of a city-wide festival celebrating Jane Jacobs, a writer and activist who was well-known for her thoughts about city planning. We talked about how the role of the street has changed over the past 150 years, and how it might look in the future.

Then in November, I helped to organize a community forum with property owners, businesses and residents called Re-Inventing Stittsville Main. About 40 people packed into Quitters for a lively 90-minute discussion about the opportunity and potential for vibrant development along the street.

A cozy night at Quitters for the lively discussion. Photo by Barry Gray.
A cozy and snowy night at Quitters in November for the lively discussion. Photo by Barry Gray.

 

There’s a lot of reason for optimism about the future of the street. New shops like Blumenstodio and Story Art Creative Centre opened this year, and I’m hearing rumblings about a few other exciting projects to come in 2017, including at least one new restaurant.

Two 19th century buildings have gone up for sale. One is the Hudson’s Insurance building (formerly Butler House and Green’s Hotel), the only heritage-designated building on Stittsville Main Street. The other is Lytle House, which dates back to 1900. Devyn Barrie interviewed Cathy Lytle about the history of the house and her family’s connection to it.

Lytle House, June 2016. Photo by Glen Gower.
Lytle House, June 2016. Photo by Glen Gower.

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Reverie Quarters, January 2015. Photo by Barry Gray
So far only one of seven buildings has been built in the Stittsville Walk (formerly Reverie) project. Photo by Barry Gray

Meanwhile, slow sale pushed back construction of the Stittsville Walk development next to the Legion. The City approved a revised site plan for that includes 26 townhomes, up from 24 in the original plan. Unfortunately there is no change to the 5-storey mixed-use commercial-and-residential building that will front Stittsville Main Street. Although the current height limit on Stittsville Main is 4-storeys, this development was approved prior to the new rules so the taller design will go ahead. It will likely be the tallest building on Stittsville Main for years to come.

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Back in February, the City asked for comments on a site plan proposal that would add a Harvey’s/Swiss Chalet drive-thru restaurant in front of Brown’s Independent. The proposal contradicts a number of rules from the Stittsville Main Street Community Design Plan (CDP). We’re still waiting to see an updated set of plans.

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Looking ahead to 2017, I’m excited about the opening of a new farmer’s market. The organization that runs the market at Lansdowne Park is working to set up a weekly market at Village Square Park (Stittsville Main @ Abbott) this spring. The market would have a strong local food focus, with at least 50% of vendors being local agricultural producers. “They want to come here. They’ve been looking at our area for quite some time,” said Sue Bird, who owns the old log cabin at the park.

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Check out our Facebook group “Friends of Stittsville Main” for more updates about development and new businesses on the street.

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(This post is part of our end-of-year 2016 Rewind series. Read more here…)


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