Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - February 15, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
Thursday, February 15, 1973 - THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD - 15 Who's cheering? What do the people who live and work in the area to he redeveled down town think about their fate? Unhappy prospect Lottie Sheffield cried at the prospect of moving from the house she's occupied for about 50 years. Not everyone is cheering about a major commercial development proposed for about six square blocks in downtown Lethbridge. A handful of residents - many of them elderly - are less than enthusiastic about vacating homes along 5th Ave. S. The city wants the area vacated by Nov. 15 to make way for a proposed complex to include Woodwards Stores Ltd. and a provincial government building. By GREG McINTYRE Herald jStaff Writer Lottie Sheffield, 82, broke into tears at the thought of leaving the rooming house at 222 5th Ave. S. she has operated for about 50 years. "There's just no place like home," Mrs. Sheffield sobbed when asked where she will go. "It's a hard thing to just pick up your things and go," she said. Mrs. Sheffield said she might be satisfied in a private suite near downtown, but would not move into shared accommodation. Mrs. Sheffield's next door neighbors, Gabor Cselle, 77, and bis wife, aged 70, have lived In their well-kept house at 218 5th Ave. S. since 1952. Mr. Cselle said if he gets a good price for his house he wouldn't mind moving, but wants another house with a garden. He's an avid grower of potatoes, tomatoes, carrots and flowers. Like most of the 21 houses along the street scheduled to be demolished, the Sheffield and Cselle residences have rooms for rent. A good portion of the houses are owned by absentee landlords. Those in better condition are generally owner occupied. Mary Gall, who owned two houses on the block - 303 and 313 where she lives - has sold to the city and is to vacate by July. Resents She provided room and board to tenants and resented losing the livelihood. Mrs. Gall said she owns other property in the city and will move there when she leaves the quiet tree-lined neighborhood where she's lived since 1941. Many tenants who have less invested in the houses scheduled for demolition felt the commercial devel- opment will be a great boost to the downtown area. They said they will vacate the area without hard feelings. And some property owners also didn't mind the prospect of leaving. Charles Harvie, owner of a house at 309 5th Ave. S., said he got a fair price and doesn't mind selling out. The city intends to have all property purchased in the area by the end of February. Still to sell are some residential owners along the south side of 5th Ave. and a few commercial owners elsewhere in the redevelopment area. Most of the property was negotiated for the city by Wayne Quinn, former assistant city manager, who quit his job at city hall late last year. The remainder of the job of assembling the land has been turned over to a private real estate dealer, Bill Henderson, area manager of Principal Savings and Trust Co. and a partner in Schwartz Agencies Ltd. The city is paying Mr. Henderson a flat $7,500 to buy the remaining residential properties for the city, said City Manager Tom Nutting. Total cost to buy all the property in the roughly six square blocks is $2.3 million, he said. Of this, the city expects to recover $1.5 million by selling to Woodwards and the provincial government. In a letter dated Jan. 25, Mr. Henderson wrote to the residential property owners that still have not sold arranging to set up interviews with them starting this week. "If you are not interested in the outright sale of your home, I have available at least 75 to 100 houses, plus several revenue properties which we would be pleased to show you," his letter said. Price A city hall source said that the price of property is determined "roughly" on the basis of the assessment done by the city's tax department. Many businessmen in the redevelopment area are annoyed they haven't yet heard formally from city hall as to when they must vacate their premises. They say the city is now the landlord and should give notice in writing saying when they should be out. Doug Clark, manager of Doug's Sports Ltd., 404 5th St. S., said "the city has been very negligent... no- body has come around and said anything. All we know is what we hear or read in the news." Mr. Clark said he has run his business at that location for 11 years and spent more than $3,000 renovating last year and would appreciate formal word from city hall about what the city's intentions are. Doug Selte, manager of F a r m e r Stockman Supply, 406 5th St. S., said he has gone ahead and found a new location downtown on the strength of news reports that the area must be vacant by Nov. 15. A spokesman for John's Motor Clinic, 402 4th Ave. S., said he wants to hear from city hall before planning a move. Mayor Andy Anderson told The Herald that there has been a public meeting which outlined the redevelopment plan and that residents of the area should be aware of city plans through news reports. The area to be cleared for the proposed commercial development - likely to get under construction in 1974 - extends from 5th St. to the coulee west of tod St., and from 4th Ave. to 6th Ave. S. The block bounded by 4th and 5th St. and 5th and 6th Ave. S. is not in- BILL GROENEN photo* eluded in the Woodwards-provincial government complex, but the city is gradually buying property there for other future developments. The area for redevelopment in 1974-75 includes considerable vacant land and run-dJwn buildings. Some usable It also includes usable buildings such as Lethbridge Sash and Door Factory, 5th Ave. and 4th St. S., and a new building, the Home and Pit-field Foods Ltd. wholesale warehouse, at 4th Ave. and 2nd St. S. All are in the process of relocating. A landmark that will be destroyed is the Capitol Theatre, in the 400 block 5th St. S., which has been closed since June 1970. Theatre owner A. W. Shackleford said he doesn't know when the theatre was built, but he took over in 1921. Business at the theatre and elsewhere in the west end of the downtown area had been declining for years before the decision was made to close the Capitol, said Mr. Shackle-ford. College Mall Cinema - also owned by a company in which Mr, Shackle-ford is a partner - opened in October 1969 and took much of the business that formerly went to the Capitol, he said. Must sell Will he demolished Mr. and Mrs. Gabor Cselle, 218 5th Ave. S., must sell to make way for progress. Quiet tree-lined 5th Ave. S. downtown is included in the dry's demolition plans next year to make way for a Woodwards Stores Ltd. and provincial government complex. The city is aiming at the end of this month to have purchased all the property In the area which will then be sold to the two developers.