Penticton city officials and community members gathered on a busy block of Westminster Avenue Wednesday to kick off the first phase of the downtown revitalization.
The initial phase being celebrated includes two blocks of Westminster Avenue and one on Martin Street.
"We believe that investing in the commercial centre of the city of Penticton is a way to move forward to economic development, this is part of the economic strategy as well," said Mayor Garry Litke.
"We want Penticton to become what has been realized to be its vision, and that is to be a vibrant, innovative and adventurous waterfront city focused on sustainability, community and economic opportunity."
The city recently awarded the project to Grizzly Excavating Ltd. The contract award is within the $1.25 million project budget for the two blocks on Westminster and the 200 block of Martin. The goal being to create a western gateway into the downtown for visitors coming from destinations like the waterfront and the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre.
The project plan calls for new sidewalks and lamp standards, energy efficient lighting, banners, flower baskets, irrigation and street furniture.
Along Martin Street, water infrastructure and connections to businesses will be improved and asphalt along the road will be replaced as well.
Other speakers included Anthony Haddad, the city's director of development services, Kerri Milton, the executive director of the Downtown Penticton Association, and Barb Haynes, co-chair of the downtown revitalization select committee.
"This has been three years in the planning, starting with council's commitment to the waterfront and downtown," said Haddad. "After completion of the downtown plan process we are now well into implementation of that vision for our downtown's future."
While Milton and Haynes talked about how exciting it was to see the project move ahead after all the planning.
Following the announcement, officials hung banners on a fence on Westminster stating "Vibrancy under construction," "We are open for business," "Penticton loves its downtown" and "Partnering for a vibrant downtown."
The construction will likely start next week, with the goal of completing it by the end of May, in time for the tourist season.