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IMAGINE BLOOMFIELD is a non-profit society whose mission is to realize the preservation, renovation and redevelopment of the Bloomfield Centre into a dynamic, neighbourhood hub that includes space for arts, heritage, community services & enterprises, education, recreation and sports through adaptive reuse and green technologies and a consultative community-building process.
THE BLOOMFIELD CENTRE
The Bloomfield Centre, with its three buildings on four acres of land in the North End of Halifax (on the corners bounded by Agricola, Almon and Robie streets) housed 56 tenants and entertained thousands of users at its peak use in 2004.
The tenants and users included artists, family service organizations, recreation groups, multi-cultural associations, and much more. That year, HRM began a review process of the centre, with the intent that the centre should close.
IMAGINING A NEW BLOOMFIELD
Imagine Bloomfield formed in 2005 in response to the threatened closure and sale of Bloomfield Centre. Through advocacy, research, expert advice, and the imagination of members, neighbours and supporters, Imagine Bloomfield was confident that it was in the City’s best interests to save the structures and create a new and better centre that serves the needs of our community in the 21st century.
The collective community voice speaking in support of retaining the Bloomfield Centre caused the City to implement a 3-stage consultation process to determine the future of the centre, with the third stage beginning in Spring 2008. A Consultant’s report addressing a MasterPlan for redevelopment of the site was tabled and accepted unanimously by Halifax Regional Council in September 2010. An implementation process report is expected to begin being acted upon in 2011.
An abbreviated history of recent events surrounding the Bloomfield centre and Imagine Bloomfield’s campaign to convince the City of its value and potential as a revitalized space follows:
2005 – HRM actions suggest threatened closure and sale of the Bloomfield Centre
2006 – Imagine Bloomfield recruits Dalhousie University Masters in Planning students to undertake a feasibility study to redevelop the site
2007 – Margie Zeidler, developer and owner of 401 Richmond, Toronto, presents a public lecture on developing creative hubs, based on the history and success of 401 Richmond and other examples
2007 – Dalhousie University Masters in Planning students present their community consultations findings and host a community design charette focussed on imagining a redeveloped Bloomfield Centre
2007 – Dalhousie University Masters in Planning students complete their Bloomfield redevelopment feasibility study. Imagine Bloomfield shares study with City Councillors and staff
2008 – Brian MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple are hired by the City to consult with community and develop a feasibly report and Master Plan for the redevelopment of Bloomfield Centre
2009 – Imagine Bloomfield initiates a community garden on the Bloomfield site, HRM Council approves $7.7 million consultant’s Master Plan, Imagine Bloomfield initiatives a Needs Assessment of potential Bloomfield tenants and partners dialogue, and hosts ArtScape Toronto ‘s Creative SpaceMaking workshop
2010 – HRM contracts consultants to determine the next steps in actualizing the redevelopment of the Bloomfield Centre according to the approved Master Plan
2011 – consultant’s finalized Bloomfield Redevelopment Implementation Plan awaiting approval by City