CLIFFORD – Minto council has endorsed an application to fund enhancements to Clifford Rotary Celebration Square through the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative (CHCI).
Staff and council have identified the downtown corner of Elora Street and Allan Street in Clifford as a potential location for a public square, explains a staff report presented during the May 20 council meeting.
The report notes the Clifford Rotary Club has indicated that they would support the project and in 2020 donated over $10,000 towards a gazebo for the square.
The Canada Healthy Communities Initiative (CHCI) supports communities as they create and adapt public spaces, and programming and services for public spaces to respond to ongoing needs arising from COVID-19 over the next two years. One of the eligible streams of the CHCI is to fund community projects that improve open spaces, parks and commercial main streets.
A concept design would see the grassed area enhanced with decorative trees, brick and stone walkways and patio sections, benches and other seasonal seating options.
“We’re looking at having a space so we can do small outdoor concerts, markets, a heritage wall,” said Wick-Graham, who explained the heritage wall would be a place where public art and community plaques can be displayed
“Really its just a great space to bring the community together and Clifford is a destination on route so we want to get that traffic stopping,” she added.
The report projects the cost of the enhancements at $95,000 and staff proposed applying for a funding level of 70% or $66,500, with the share of $28,500 coming from an allocation from the Covid-19 Recovery Fund. Community fund-raising may be used to purchase additional enhancements for the Square.
“It’s a fairly small project,” noted treasurer Gordon Duff.
“Usually, with these types of grants, if you got some skin in the game it improves the odds,” Duff added.
Wick Graham said staff anticipate learning if the application was successful by mid-August, after which a decision could be made on whether to proceed with work immediately or wait until 2022.
In addition to the Rotary Club, other groups such as the Clifford Horticultural Society and Clifford Firefighters Association have expressed interest in participating in the project and the Minto Chamber of Commerce have also declared their support.
“It’s great to see all the community partners on this,” said deputy mayor Dave Turton.
“They’re very excited about this,” said Mayor George Bridge.
“I give council the credit for the foresight to buy that property and now to get it developed the way we’re developing it. And if we can get some money from the federal government for it I’m all for it,” Bridge added.