This summer, the Coliseum parking lot is being repurposed as a recreational area for activities like basketball and skateboarding. The decision to repurpose the parking lot came after the Coliseum was closed.
Two years ago, the opening of Rogers Place downtown created uncertainty about the future of the area around the Northlands Coliseum (formerly known as Rexall Place, Skyreach Centre, and the Edmonton Coliseum). Northlands surrendered the Coliseum site to the City of Edmonton on Jan. 1, 2018.
The initial plan to was redevelop the old arena for other purposes, but eventually the city determined that the storied venue, the former home of the Oilers, Canadian Finals Rodeo, and countless concerts and events, is to be demolished.
This news caused some concerns from the community about the area becoming derelict and crime-ridden while it was unused, so city staff developed a strategy to prevent it from becoming a dead zone, said Andrea Tarasenko, citywide programs manager of neighbourhood recreation.
“The branch took the initiative to animate the space,” Tarasenko said. “There will be two basketball courts, hockey nets, and skateboarding. It’s drop-in and unsupervised, from 5 am to 11 pm.”
Equipment has been set up in the north parking lot since May, and will stay until mid-September, with a break for K-Days from July 5 to Aug. 5.
“There’ll also be some events by various organizations. There’s been a big bin event already, and there’s a hockey tournament on Aug. 2 for youths 13 to 17 years old.”
The City of Edmonton imagines this to be popular for kids who want some outdoor activity in the summer, but Tarasenko said she hopes it will become a way for everyone to spend some time with friends and to get moving.
“We invite anyone to come and use the space. We’re hoping that people will be coming off the LRT and see what’s going on and stop in after work or school.”
Future plans for the Coliseum are still being discussed (the Area Redevelopment Plan is expected at the end of 2018), but if there is enough interest, they may extend the parking lot activities. Tarasenko encourages people to visit for their own enjoyment and well-being, as well as to help bring something useful to the community.
“We are always trying to encourage participation in health and wellness activities, whether it’s youth or families. It’s a great way to keep this site active and vibrant during the summer.”
COLISEUM PARKING LOT
North parking lot
7424 118 Avenue
Break from July 5 to Aug. 5
Open from 5 am-11 pm
Featured Image: Basketball hoops and other equipment have been set up for people to use in the parking lot. | Supplied