SAM ODROWSKI The Standard
UXBRIDGE: The Township of Uxbridge has started a Downtown Improvement fund that works with building and store owners to help improve the look of the downtown core.
As well, The town has recently announced a new program called the “Building, Façade, and Signage Improvement Program” that also aims to bring improvements to downtown Uxbridge.
Councillor Gordon Highet said, “We always get complaints that it’s dark and dingy and nobody is spending money to improve the look of their stores.”
According to Township surveys, many people in Uxbridge choose not to shop downtown because they find it isn’t a very welcoming, or pleasant area to shop in.
In response to this, the Township of Uxbridge has allocated $30,000 to spend on community improvement projects in 2018.
The area effected by the program is centered around where Brock Street West intersects with Toronto Street North, and encompasses its surrounding area.
Eligible property owners in the area of improvement can apply for a grant for project funding, up to the amount of $5,000. All the grants given for downtown improvement projects require the property owner to fund an equal amount of any grant being received.
“So it’s not free money but it’s money to help get you over the top,” Concillor Highet said. “It’s incentive for [businesses] who have been holding off on spending any money, to now take advantage of this type of program.”
He added, that many small businesses number one concern is cash flow, so by giving businesses a hand-up through the grant program, more property owners will be willing to put money into improving the look of their buildings.
Council want’s the downtown core to move away from back lit, 70s style signs, and move towards a heritage look, with goose egg lighting, to create a better atmosphere.
The Township will be accepting applications for grants from December 1st until February 23rd in 2018 and then council will decide which projects receive funding.
When evaluating the applications, council will look at the end goal of the project, what type of improvement it will bring, and how much money is willing to be committed.
Every situation is different but individuals looking to make huge improvements of great significance to the outside look of their building will likely be ranked highest among applicants.
Councillor Highet hopes this program will create a snowball effect where word spreads, people hear about the projects, see the end results, and want to get involved.
He said, “That’s the end goal of this, is to create that kind of buzz.”
Adding that if the project goes well, council would like to run this program every year to bring long lasting and significant improvements to the downtown core.
For more information about the project visit the Development Services Department at the Township of Uxbridge office, located on 51 Toronto Street South. Information is also available on the Township of Uxbridge website at: http://town.uxbridge.on.ca/development_services_planning.
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