WELLINGTON NORTH – Council here has approved an interest free loan of $10,000 loan to the Arthur Business Improvement Association (BIA) to assist with programs and projects without taxing local businesses as they recover from the pandemic shutdown.
A memorandum of understanding approved by council at the July 27 meeting states the loan is to be repaid in two equal instalments of $5,000 each, on Feb. 1, 2021 and Feb. 1, 2022.
At the July 13 meeting, Arthur BIA chair Keith Harris provided council with an update on the recently established association.
Due to COVID-19, the organization’s board of directors decided they did not want to establish a BIA tax levy in 2020.
However they do have a number of projects underway in partnership with the township that will require some funding later this year.
In order to be able to support these projects, and to get their bank account opened, the BIA requested a $10,000 loan from the township to be paid back from BIA tax levies in future years.
A report from economic development officer Dale Small explains the BIA is currently supporting streetscape enhancements associated with the Arthur Connecting Link project and downtown enhancements associated with a Rural Economic Development (RED) grant received by the township.
The enhancements include Christmas Decorations for downtown Arthur, to be in place by fall, and an outdoor gym for downtown Arthur, to be in place for 2021.
The Christmas decorations project will cost $18,442 with $5,532 to come from the RED grant, $5,532 from the Arthur BIA (utilizing the $10,000 loan) and $7,376 from the township economic development budget.
“By granting the loan to the BIA they will be able to support the Christmas decorations project in 2020 and the remaining funding will be used to set up their bank account and provide them with some funds for communication, marketing, establishing an online presence, etc.,” Small explained in his report.
“Our expectation is that once the streetscape enhancements are finalized as part of the Connecting Link project the Arthur BIA will need to come back to council to request additional loan funding.
The report adds, “This would be a similar process to what council followed in 2010 with the Mount Forest BIA as part of the Mount Forest Downtown ‘Big Dig.’
“This loan request will be treated separately and will be subject to another [memorandum of understanding] to be presented to council later this year.”
CIP grants approved
Also at the July 27 meeting, council approved two Community Improvement Plan grants totalling over $4,200:
- a $1,714 façade improvement grant for improvements at Stumbled Upon on Main Street in Mount Forest; and
- a $2,500 public art grant to assist with the cost of a mural at Arthur Foodland.
Total cost of the façade improvements at Stumbled Upon is estimated at $3,428.
The cost of the mural is estimated at $5,000. The project will be completed by Eileen MacArthur from the Arthur School of Art, who was also the creator and artist for the Paint the Town Rainbow project in Arthur earlier this year.