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Downtown demolition paves way for Sault's showpiece plaza

Insurance office levelled to make room for $6.6-million project

The first tangible signs of what will eventually become a $6.6-million public plaza materialized over the past week at the corner of Queen Street East and Bingham Street in downtown Sault Ste. Marie.

The former offices of Paciocco Mills & Associates Insurance Brokers at 535 Queen St. E., acquired by the city last year, have been demolished to make room for the downtown showpiece.

Removal of the building clears the way for the downtown plaza to extend from Queen Street to the Bay Street Tim Hortons.

Early design concepts shown to city council nine months ago, inspired from recommendations from consultant Roger Brooks, showed a water play feature, a stage with large screen, public art, a skating rink, and playground equipment along Bingham Street.

The proposed plaza is intended to serve as a community living room, providing youth with space downtown and seniors with attractive park space.

Of the final cost, $3.4 million is projected to come from higher levels of government and sponsorship of things like the water feature, pavilion, trees, lighting, public art, play feature, bricks, and benches.

A city work plan prepared earlier this year dedicates the months of April, May and June to securing funding for the new downtown venue.

Tendering is scheduled for the third quarter of 2020.