City seeking input on riverfront project

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Blackburn News/Maureen Revait

The City of Windsor is seeking input on a new multi-million dollar tourism and recreational project on the city’s waterfront.
The Celestial Beacon Project is part of the Central Riverfront Implementation Plan to develop the waterfront for public use.  As part of the Celestial Beacon Project, the newly restored historic electric streetcar will be on display. The project will also include public washrooms, bike rental facilities and a refreshment area.
“The Celestial Beacon, as you can see, incorporates our history, it is remarkable, it will be a place where many in this community want to go and it has a lot of the modern amenities whether its electric vehicle charging stations, whether its bike rental and proper bike facilities, food service,” said Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens. “This is a very very exciting project, I am excited about it, I’m passionate about our city’s history, this is a chance to connect so many dots and I know many members of the council are very excited about this as well.”
The project is the westernmost fixture along the riverfront plan and will be built at the foot of Askin Avenue. There will be an enclosure to protect the streetcar from the elements but it will be accessible to the public in a controlled setting.
The City of Windsor has launched a survey to gauge public opinion on the proposed design, the survey is open until June 10.  Following the public consultation, a report will go to city council to decide on the future of the project.
“The community may have other ideas in terms of what they would like to see that would alter some of the configurations and we’re all ears to listen to that and accept the feedback and to try and tweak the project to make sure we haven’t forgotten anything,” said Dilkens.
A full budget has not yet been determined. To date, $2.4 million has been approved for the project in the 2019 Capital Budget. The City of Windsor will also apply for a Heritage Canada grant of $3-million to help fund the project.
If approved, a full design could be completed by the end of the year and construction could begin as early as spring 2021.