Community Beautification

18th Street Refresh Project

We caught up with Patricia Medhurst, our Director of Community Beautification to hear about the 18th Street Refresh Project.

How is the 18th Street Refresh Project coming?

It’s going really well. We’ve made some good progress this year and, by our unofficial count, approximately 16 fences have been painted so far in 2022! Special thanks to everyone who has painted their fence as well as to our wonderful donors and volunteers who chipped in to help some residents who needed a hand: Bart Lamb , Tarryn Hamilton, Remington Development Corp, Tracey, Graham, Delby, Jerry, Mark, Stephen, and Darryl.

What do you hear from community residents about the project? Are they noticing?

Yes! Many have said they are noticing and that it is making a visible difference to our community. I believe there are approximately 20 fences that still require repairs and/or painting so we will continue to work with homeowners to get those completed.

What have you learned or what has been surprising to you?

One of our volunteers encouraged me to knock on doors to meet 18th Street homeowners and find out what some of the barriers are to painting them. Many homeowners asked about the possibility of replacing the grey fences with a concrete sound barrier. They were aware that there was a study done a number of years ago and didn’t want to spend a lot of time or money on their fence if it was going to be replaced so they’ve been holding off.

And will a sound barrier be built?

When the City of Calgary conducted a sound assessment along 18th Street a number of years ago, only the southernmost part of Riverbend was approved for a sound barrier (21st Street south to Quarry Park border) As an aside, those southern fences were built as single thickness whereas all the other fences are double thickness so that’s why there is a higher sound level in that part of the street). All retrofit noise barriers across the City have since been put on hold indefinitely. More information on the sound barriers is available on City of Calgary website

What else have you been working on?

We have been working with the City to address the farthest south centre median as it is bald and in need of attention. The City has agreed to pilot a program of tilling in “salt grass” to see if this method of planting will be successful. Typically salt grass has to be transplanted so this pilot program will test another planting method. Salt grass is a very hardy grass that looks similar to regular grass (it takes a bit longer to green in the summer) and thrives in salty road conditions. It will take a year or two to determine whether it will take successfully. We have also requested replacement trees be planted along that median.

What’s next for the Beautification Team?

We think there is more to be done in terms of landscaping. There are some opportunities for us to work on a few small garden areas, shrub beds, etc. along 18th Street and around Riverbend. We are in need of a small volunteer team to work on the landscaping/gardening project. If you like to garden and are interested in getting involved and meeting others who are passionate about beautifying Riverbend please contact me at

With a few more volunteers we could have an even greater impact by applying for grants, doing some gardening work, or even just brainstorming ideas to beautify our community. All are welcome, it’s a fun and gratifying project.

2021 Accomplishments

  • In spring, we reached out to 93 residents with 18th Street fences with an information letter, encouraging them to paint their fences, offering assistance and suggesting they may want to work together to lower their costs. We received 22 responses.

  • The City of Calgary crew has repaired the broken boards on the east side of 18th Street.

  • We reached Telus via Twitter and they fixed and repainted their fence that was in poor condition

  • According to our informal estimate, approximately 16 out of 42 fences that required painting have been painted this year. That’s good progress!

  • Special thanks to a group of residents on Riverwood Circle who worked together and painted 7 fences in a row!

  • We want to thank everyone who worked on refreshing their fence this year.

Next Steps:

  • We are working with Calgary Parks and Roads (and possibly some local developers) on how best to tackle landscaping on 18th Street.

  • We will need to secure funding to make any landscaping upgrades.

  • We require a few volunteers to help with these projects.

  • Please contact with any feedback or ideas on this issue.

3 Ways You Can Support Community Beautification

The City of Calgary has some programs for individuals, groups or families who are interested in helping with upkeep in our beautiful parks, green spaces, playgrounds, pathways, and natural areas. Check out the "Adopt a Park" and "Litter Clean Up" programs. It's a great way to get the family outdoors in the spring to discover more of Riverbend and provide a little TLC to help keep our community beautiful.


This program provides opportunities for you, as a proud Calgarian, to volunteer as a steward in your local parks or greenspaces.

Join us to learn more about available opportunities, such as shrub bed and playground general maintenance and grooming or litter cleanups, and how you can get involved.

Stewardship is everyone’s responsibility and you can make a difference in maintaining the health, beauty and biodiversity of your local natural surroundings.

Calgary Parks are awaiting the chance to work with you to ensure our parks continue to thrive for years to come!

If you’re interested in becoming an Adopt-a-Park volunteer, please follow this link for more information and to register: or call 311.

Registration for this program begins on March 14th, 2022

Litter Cleanup

Groups make short commitments to keep park spaces clean.

Activities include the annual Pathway and River Cleanup and The Litter Cleanup (TLC) Kit.

Calgary is designated as a Clean Shoreline Community. Our partnership with the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup helps us engage more local volunteers to minimize our impact on the environment and keep it healthy.

To volunteer, please follow this link for more information and to register: or call 311

Registration for the Pathway and River Cleanup opens on February 22 for 2021 Returning Teams and on March 15 for new teams


ActivateYYC is back in 2022! ActivateYYC is a tactical urbanism micro-grant initiative first launched in May 2016. It saw Calgarians temporarily change spaces to encourage people to “walk, play and be neighbourly”. This year, ActivateYYC seeks to provide micro-grants to individuals and organizations whose projects fit one of the two streams.

The $1000 project stream will focus on Walk, Play and Be Neighbourly. These projects can be almost anything if they mobilize people to move differently in their community, re-imagine space into place or create a sense of neighbourliness.

Some ideas might include:

• Little free library circuit

• Sidewalk art

• Buddy benches

• Asset mapping of community amenities

• Painted communication walls

• Beautification of chain link fences

The $3000 project will take place on residential streets (non-bus routes) or on pathways within neighbourhoods. These projects will encourage traffic calming, accessibility, safety, walkability and so on. They will all require City of Calgary permits to proceed.

Bump Out activations are positioned on streets. A bump out is the narrowing of cross-streets so that car traffic is slowed and pedestrians and other modes of transportation (i.e., bikes and scooters) can reclaim the street.

Pathway activation's are positioned in parks, lane-ways, catwalks, or pathways. These are place making projects that increase safety, accessibility, usability.

Check out for photos of projects from other communities from previous years. If you have an idea for a project we are happy to partner and support your application. Reach out to

Other Projects in Progress

All-Season Rink Makeover Project

27 Riverbend Drive Playground

Ideas for Consideration

Community Beautification has been rated as the most important item by the Riverbend residents during Community Engagement Survey conducted in March 2021.

Projects and ideas that we heard about from the community were classified according to the cost and effort required as illustrated on the graphic. Please see more details for each item below.

All the ideas presented need passionate individuals to spearhead them and make our community more beautiful. If you are interested or know someone who would, please submit an expression of interest via our website on our volunteering page.

Spray Park

  • Major project, estimated cost $0.5-1M

  • Would need to be located on RCA property and there is no space for it [there are only 2 City owned and operated spray parks]

  • Ongoing operating and maintenance costs would be RCA’s responsibility, which is not something we could ever afford

  • Cost of RCA liability insurance would skyrocket, which is again not something we could afford

  • Overall, it is not a feasible idea for Riverbend

Welcome to ‘Riverbend’ sign(s)

  • At the entrance to the community from Glenmore going south and from Quarry Park going north

  • Major project

  • Key actions:

    • Negotiate and secure permissions for land use with City of Calgary

    • Engage community with sign design

    • Obtain quotes

    • Secure funding by applying for grants

    • Oversee construction

    • If signs had electricity connections, funding to cover these ongoing costs would also need to be secured

  • Volunteer required to lead this work

  • Funding required to support this work

Playground in Carburn Park

  • The playground in Carburn Park has not been replaced after 2013 flood

  • a community resident contacted us to let us know that he started pursuing the idea of bringing the playground back to Carburn Park

  • City of Calgary Parks endorsement will be required

  • Funding will also be required

Painting of Utility Boxes

  • Cost is $1500 per box

  • Key actions:

    • Engaging artist(s)

    • Conceptual drawings acceptance

    • Painting of the boxes

  • City of Calgary only allows utility boxes close to the main streets to be painted

  • There are 4 boxes by 18th Street that would be eligible

  • Volunteer is required to lead this work

  • Funding is required to support this work

Garbage Can Wraps

  • Cost is $500 each

  • City of Calgary has lots of pre-made designs to choose from

  • Key actions:

    • decide on locations (35 total excluding Carburn Park)

    • secure funding

Outdoor Fitness Equipment

  • Cost is $25,000

  • The easiest approach would be to squeeze outdoor gym equipment within RCA property boundaries

  • Other locations need to be negotiated with City of Calgary Parks; they tend to be hesitant as they do not want to assume ongoing maintenance and repairs

  • Key actions:

    • Determine design and location within RCA property boundaries

    • Solicit quotations from vendors

    • Apply for grants to secure funding

  • Volunteer is required to lead this work

  • Funding is required to support this work