Centre Wellington is directing just over $54,500 towards main street revitalization in Fergus.
The July 23 decision followed a report by economic development officer Patricia Rutter. She said the Main Street Revitalization Initiative is a $26 million fund to assist municipalities with activities that support and benefit small businesses.
All lower tier and single tier municipalities are eligible for funding, which will be administered by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).
Centre Wellington’s funding allocation is $54,527. Rutter said council previously agreed to spend that money in Fergus.
Staff have met with the Fergus BIA on a number of occasions to discuss how best to allocate the funds in downtown Fergus and to consider ideas suggested by Roger Brooks, an international destination development expert.
Rutter said during that visit Brooks indicated Fergus held great potential and he would love to see the Scottish theme enhanced
Other items were recommended by staff.
As a result, staff has proposed the following allocations under the Main Street Revitalization Initiative:
– new planters $12,000;
– blade signage, $10,000 (920 businesses/max of $500 each);
– Fergus historic downtown signage, $15,000 (gateway signage/four locations);
– public realm signage $4,000 (parking, Templin Gardens and Riverwalk); and
– projects identified by Roger Brooks workshop $12,000.
Rutter said downtown Fergus was in desperate need of new planters. New ones will be more efficient in terms of watering, thus saving staff time.
She added new signage will make it easier for visitors to identify various locations. Another hope is to reinstate heritage downtown Fergus signage, Rutter said.
Rutter stated the Fergus BIA will be investing in new banners ($10,000) and new benches that further the Scottish theme in the downtown ($8,000) as well as contributing to the cost to bring Roger Brooks International to downtown for a session on July 31 and Aug. 1 (for an article on that session see page 7).
Brooks’ return visit to work further with the Downtown Fergus Business Improvement Area (BIA) is a partnership between Economic Development and the BIA.
Rutter said the visit will culminate with the creation of an Action Plan to move forward improvements in downtown Fergus. The funding allocation of $12,000 is being earmarked to address any items that arise out of this action plan.
The funding allocation for the blade signage will be done under the Community Improvement Plan and details of how that will proceed will be provided in a separate report at a later date.
Centre Wellington Mayor Kelly Linton said the allocations had the endorsement of the Fergus BIA.
Council received the report as information.
Linton congratulated those involved for the work done and said, “I expect to see significant improvements in downtown Fergus – I’m excited to see what is going to happen.”