At an Aug. 28 meeting Smiths Falls town councillors were given their first look at proposed plans to construct a town square and renovate the town hall complex.
Dan Wojcik of heritage architectural firm +VG presented what he called “a preliminary take” on the design of a town square to be located in the area between the town hall and the Smiths Falls Public Library, as well as proposals to redesign the space within the town hall complex.
Wojcik assured councillors that the plans he was presenting were designed with the assumption that financial resources are limited, and with the intent to preserve and take advantage of existing heritage architecture in the area.
“The assets you guys have on site here are unbelievable,” said Wojcik. “It’s very rare that we see an opportunity to create a town square any more in this day and age.”
The architectural firm’s goal is to protect and enhance existing heritage buildings, said Wojcik. “The town square would be the gateway for your community,” he added. “We’re trying to draw more people, more attention, (and) more activity to the site.”
Initial plans for the town square include installing an outdoor performance area or amphitheatre, and relocating the existing cenotaph “to a more ceremonial space in front of the library,” said Wojcik.
The architects are also proposing a reorganization and renovation of the town hall, which would see the council chambers relocated into the more accessible space in the old fire hall.
Plans for the town square and municipal complex will be shared with the public at an open house in the fall. Director of Community Services Art Manhire said designs, including an estimate for construction, will be finalized by the end of the year. The project is intended to be implemented in phases, he added.
“I’m very much looking forward to hearing what the public has to say about this,” said Councillor Dawn Quinn.