The Town of Cochrane has notched another huge win in funding that will see the Cochrane Crossing Plaza enhanced far beyond its original scope.

Cochrane has been awarded a $750,000 federal grant from the Canada Community Revitalization Fund (CCRF) that will double the amount originally budgeted for the plaza to $1.5 million.

“This additional federal investment allows us to focus on areas not previously invested in, including the creation of comprehensive art installations highlighting the town’s values, diversity, and strong spirit," says Mike Korman, the town's interim director of planning and development services.

Other enhancements include free public wi-fi throughout the site, colour controllable ambient lighting in multiple locations, additional built-in seating, and secure bike lockers. The funding must be used by Mar. 31, 2023.

Korman says fine details on how the artwork will be selected are currently being determined by the town's Community Services department.

"It won't be our final approach to public art, but we do need to have some sort of structure in order to gain some feedback from the public," says Korman. "They're working on that process now with the community as a whole."

With plans for completion and opening this summer, The Station and its plaza will serve as a gathering space for the community and visitors. Key to the Cochrane Crossing is an at-grade pedestrian CPR track crossing that will provide a long-sought connection between Historic Downtown and Quarry. 

The CCRF is a two-year program created to revitalize communities across Canada and is being delivered in Alberta by PrairiesCan. 

Daniel Vandal, federal Northern Affairs minister who is also responsible for PrairiesCan, says the Cochrane project falls in line with the fund's aim to bring new life to community infrastructure and create modern gathering places for residents and visitors of all ages and abilities.

Cochrane Community Services director Mitchell Hamm says hundreds of municipalities across Canada sought the funding and Cochrane is fortunate and grateful to have been selected as a recipient.

From the get-go, the town has been successful in securing federal and provincial funding to convert brown land into The Quarry and to establish transit infrastructure. In 2012 under Mayor Truper McBride, it was assisted by the federal government with infrastructure costs associated with converting brown land into what has become a robust commercial sector. That same year, the town received approval to establish a Community Revitalization Levy for The Quarry, a rarity at that time outside of Edmonton and Calgary.

GreenTRIP funding, which is providing the bulk of the funds for The Station, was also secured under the McBride administration.

The 7,700 sq. ft. building will serve as a transit hub, including public washrooms, office space, as well as a green space.

You can find out a few more details on its purpose here.