Clifford residents gather for ‘Your Town Rising’ meeting

CLIFFORD – Minto’s economic development manager Belinda Wick-Graham welcomed 50 community-minded citizens to a community meeting on Sept. 4 in Clifford.

The goal was to generate community interest in a “Your Town Rising” program, brainstorm branding for Clifford and do some event planning.

Wick-Grahm said she was “quite confident in Clifford’s ability to make it happen.”

Minto Chamber of Commerce president John Mock gave a presentation on the  Cool Cones public art display created to celebrate the Canada Packers Reunion in harriston in 2017.

He also explained the murals, stenciled art work on the sidewalks, coloured lights on the trees, outdoor music, downtown benches and other elements of the Your Town Rising program.

The goal of the program is to have more people spend more time enjoying the downtown core.

Ron McTaggert said he found the Canada flag banners a real wow factor for Clifford, a great starting point for people driving through to say, “my, what a pretty little town.”

All Aboard Palmerston capitalizes on their steam locomotive, railway history, and the Trendy Trains art project.

Terry Cormack feels there is a wealth of talent in any community and awesome support. Bring a variety of views to the table to find the flavour of a community, encourage and involve any and all participation.

Wick-Graham said the town needs “champions” to drive the involvement forward, build on assets, build on the winter light up the street event and the summer street party to combine promotions and events, improve window displays, find potential partners, and look into grants to fund activities.

Ideas, assets, events, activities, and established groups were explored and innovative ideas were generated to showcase Clifford and draw visitors.

Would people find Clifford a destination if it were the village with bright red phone booths, plugging into Wightman Telecom’s four-generation, 120-year-old business? What if Clifford the Big Red Dog of storybook fame dotted the landscape, would that be a draw? Would an accessible gazebo in the park at the traffic lights perk up community spirit and convince people to take note of Clifford?

It was noted Clifford used to be known for its eating establishments such as the Four Aces, Mansion Inn, Mary’s and the Redwood. A strong Rotary Club and a large annual truck show are among the village’s current assets. Recognition of former Canadian Football League star John Kruspe with a bench and statue or other local recognition of local history were also discussed.

Deputy Mayor Dave Turton thanked the speakers and all who joined the session.

The Clifford Community Hall was booked for Oct. 9 at 6:30pm for a follow-up meeting. All members of the community were invited to attend and help finalize a theme/brand and establish sub-committees and an action plan.