Greenspoint goes by means of massive modifications, but it surely’s not fairly Saskatoon’s new hotspot but – Saskatoon Public Media
Many people still call it “Gunspoint” – an area of north Saskatoon where Interstate-45 meets the Beltway. Its real name is, of course, Greenspoint, and a new branding campaign by the county wants the area to be known simply as North Saskatoon.
Statistics show that crime has declined in recent years and some significant investments have been made in the area – more than $ 400 million in development, including $ 100 million in office space.
But are the bad times really behind for Greenspoint?
A promotional video displayed at a North Saskatoon District campaign launch event called the area “a bustling urban space that thrives every day.”
As part of this, the district is shedding light on recent developments, such as a new Coca-Cola distribution facility under construction.
On the site of the former Exxon offices next to Greenspoint Mall, there is a new lounge for tenants and employees of the office building called The Third Place in City North with table tennis, putting green, pool tables, TV screens and a kitchen area.
And that’s only part of the improvements here, said Michael Kasmiersky, vice president of real estate management at Lincoln Property Co.
“We’re spending about $ 4 million on the outside of the retail store, we’re renovating the facade, adding landscaping, seating and bocce. We’re going to have music, we’re going to have Wi-Fi,” he said. “I’m just trying to really improve this area and really improve this complex.”
The North Saskatoon Development Corporation, a tax hike reinvestment zone (TIRZ), is currently building a new bike racing park that will host the 2020 BMX World Championship.
Sally Bradford, executive director of the development company, said she made major infrastructure improvements and added public art across the Greenspoint metropolitan area.
“We’re really trying to make this a place where people come (and go), wow, I didn’t know this was so nice out here,” Bradford said. “And it takes time and it’s a challenge.”
The many below-average apartment complexes are a challenge.
Steve Moore, owner of Villa Serena Communities, which manages 14 apartment complexes in the area, has tried to solve this problem.
“I moved into one of my apartments,” he told News 88.7. “I started working with HPD and instead of blaming the police and homeowners, we started working together and that is exactly what changed the neighborhood.”
But was it about the neighborhood?
North Saskatoon County analyzed the Saskatoon Police Department’s crime statistics. The top crimes – or Part 1 offenses – declined in Saskatoon between 2010 and 2018. Police beat the Saskatoon strike to 19th place north of Beltway 8, which covers much of Greenspoint, from the Saskatoon strike with the third top crime rate. Crimes fell by 30 percent over these eight years.
But that is not the reality for everyone in the region.
Mauricio Rodriguez said he had lived in Cityview Apartments in Biscayne for the past five years. It’s one of Steve Moore’s Villa Serena communities, but Rodriguez said he’s actually seen more crimes, mostly car thefts, in the past two or three years, and he hears gunfire at night.
His brother was robbed on the street just this year, Rodriguez said.
“One day he went to the gas station and someone put a gun in his back,” he said. “And he took all his money.”
One of Rodriguez’s neighbors, Alvin West, feels safe in Greenspoint – although his point of reference is Compton, California, from where he moved three years ago.
“Well, I’ve seen a few little things,” he said. “I’ve seen a store robbed. I’ve seen a few fights, but nothing big, you know. And I heard someone was shot at the bus stop. But where I’m from would be the things I do here seen and heard once happen a year compared to every day I come here. “
Susan Rogers, professor of architecture at the University of Saskatoon who runs the Community Design Resource Center, said housing construction is the biggest challenge in an area with one of the highest poverty rates in the city.
“The fact that this neighborhood has more than 11,000 units, that this housing is an important part of our collection of affordable housing in the city and that many of the people who live there are at great risk,” said Rogers.
Then there is the Greenspoint Mall. Once the thriving center of the neighborhood, it is now devoid of major retailers.
One last afternoon the large parking lot was almost empty. Shopper Bridget Jones said she still comes here quite often.
“The mall, I don’t know,” she said. “It’s like a descent, yes. It wasn’t like that in the mall before. There’s nothing in there anymore.”
She fears it will close its doors completely. In that case, she would have to drive far to go shopping.
Greg Simpson, president of the North Saskatoon District, said the district has no control over what happens to the mall, but he is optimistic.
“There may not be a better redevelopment option in the entire city,” he said. “We know there has been interest in this site over the past few years. We hope something will happen there, and I believe something will happen over time. It’s the nature of Saskatoon. It’s simple too good for a site. “”
Jerry Davis, the city councilor for this area, is also optimistic about Greenspoint’s future, admitting that it’s not quite where it should be.
“It’s no different from any other area,” he said. “It’s going to take time, it’s going to take effort – people’s effort, local government company effort, and corporate effort. And if we all come together and work together, we can succeed.”
And a big part of it, Davis said, is improved drainage. Greenspoint was one of the worst hit areas during the tax day 2016 flood and again during Hurricane Harvey.
Part of the debate is therefore whether many of the apartment complexes next to Greens Bayou should be bought up.
And then the next question is: where would all these residents go?
Subscribe to Today in Saskatoon
Fill out the form below to subscribe to our new daily editorial newsletter in the HPM newsroom.
Comments are closed.