Wellington North seeks uptake on CIP grant program

KENILWORTH – More business people are looking to upgrade the downtown areas of Arthur and Mount Forest. On July 8, Wellington North council approved community improvement grants to local businesses.

A report from economic development officer Dale Small noted grants include:

– $3,771 for the improvements made at 273 Main Street South in Mount Forest the new home of The Old Hound;

– $4,000 for the improvements made at 238 George Street South in Arthur, home to The Plumbers Wife;

– $360 for Blade Signage at 157 Main Street North in Mount Forest, home to Sherry’s on Main;

– up to $10,000 for the planned improvements to 170 Elgin Street North in Mount Forest, previous home to a doctor’s office;

– $896.00 for Signage at 480 Smith Street in Arthur, home to Coffey Plumbing    

Small stated, “since 2012 our Community Improvement Plan (CIP) has enabled the municipality to provide grants to individuals, businesses, etc. who are making improvements to their buildings all in an effort to support revitalization and redevelopment activities.”

He added, “the program has proven quite popular, and including these five requests, 70 applicants have submitted applications for funding under the Community Improvement Program.”

Small said the value of the improvements made as a result of applications “is conservatively estimated at $1.2 million and of this amount 80% has been covered by the applicants with the remaining 20% covered by grants/loans under the CIP.”

Lennox said through involvement with the Arthur and Mount Forest downtown revitalization groups he has seen an uptake in local businesses putting out planters and blade signage.

“As I’ve been travelling through other parts of our fair province, I’ve been looking at downtowns with a different eye.”

Lennox noted a recent visit to Creemore with his family.

“Boy, they do a pretty good job of it there.”

Visiting a local cafe, Lennox said the business offered a spot to pick up folding chairs to use outdoors on the sidewalk.

“Even my kids commented – this is a pretty nice little town – we should stop here. To me that is as a strong endorsement.”

He quipped “to get teenage kids interested in anything is a challenge.”

As such he believes local improvements are a positive step which can be built upon.

Small agreed.

“As we move forward, we will have suggestions to maintain this. Downtown revitalization is something which needs to be active not just this year, but for future years to come.”