Minto Community Improvement Plan leads to evolution in downtown areas

By in Community

Streetscapes in Minto are evolving as part of an overall community improvement plan which will take shape over the next four years.
Downtown Revitalization has been a major focus of the Town of Minto over the past several years. In 2008 the municipality hired Stempski, Kelly & Associates to create streetscape plans for all three Minto downtowns.
In June 2009 the Council of the Town of Minto approved the Community Improvement Plan, which allows the municipality the ability to grant municipal money for commercial property owners and tenants to make improvements to their buildings.
Through the municipality’s Façade and Signage Improvement Grant Program commercial property owners and tenants located in the Community Improvement Areas are able to receive matching grants of up to $3,000 for facades and $1,000 for signage. A total of $15,000 is available through this program each year until 2014.
In September of 2009 the Town of Minto, in partnership with the Palmerston Lions Club, Minto Chamber of Commerce, Saugeen Economic Development Corporation, Minto Heritage Association and the Palmerston Railway Heritage Assoc received $406,000 through the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs – Rural Economic Development Program to implement downtown revitalization plans, which were created by the three downtown revitalization committees in Clifford, Harriston and Palmerston. This funding will be in place until 2011.
The various elements of the downtown program that will be accomplished through this funding include:
-Streetscape Plan Implementation (projects in Clifford and Palmerston started in Fall 2009, more to come in 2010 and 2011 in all three centres)
-Façade Guidelines and Demonstration Sketches – this will ensure that there is a standard and quality look to all improvements made.
-Palmerston Lions Heritage Park Improvements
-Marketing
-Investment Recruitment
-Buy Local Program
-Business Education Seminars
-Specialized Training
-Technical Upgrades to the Palmerston Railway Heritage Museum
-Specialized Equipment for the Palmerston Lions Heritage Park.
In 2010, Minto will showcase their improvement plan when the municipality hosts a Rural Downtown Revitalization Summit October 20 and 21. People from across Ontario will converge on Minto to learn the latest news and best practices around rural downtown revitalization.
The Main Street Minto Program is a downtown revitalization strategy based on the Main Street Approach, which was developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Washington, DC. The Main Street Approach is community-driven, comprehensive methodology used to revitalize older, traditional business districts. The Main Street Approach advocates a return to community self-reliance, local empowerment, and the rebuilding of traditional commercial districts based on their unique assets: distinctive architecture, a pedestrian-friendly environment, personal service, local ownership, and a sense of community.
The revitalization program is driven by the downtown revitalization committees in each community and facilitated by Belinda Wick-Graham, Minto’s business and economic manager. New committee members are always welcome, she notes.
“We have based our downtown revitalization program around the proven Main Street program, which focuses on a four-point approach to revitalization,
including organization, design, marketing and economic restructuring,” says Wick-Graham.
More information on any of the programs can be obtained by calling
519-338-2511 ext 41 or emailing
belinda@town.minto.on.ca or visiting www.town.minto.on.ca.