Bal­anc­ing act: How oth­ers view Alexan­dria, Maxville

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page -

Alexan­dria and Maxville ex­ceeded ex­pec­ta­tions, how­ever, a group of vis­i­tors stresses both com­mu­ni­ties must pull off a “bal­anc­ing act” to pros­per while re­tain­ing their small-town charm.

Un­der the First Im­pres­sion Com­mu­nity Ex­er­cise, a team from North Dun­das noted strengths and weak­nesses dur­ing their tour of the com­mu­ni­ties re­cently.

The group con­cluded that Alexan­dria will face a few hur­dles on its way to suc­cess:

Beau­ti­fi­ca­tion of the down­town core to at­tract new busi­nesses and in­spire ex­ist­ing build­ing own­ers and busi­nesses to im­prove their lo­ca­tion

Get­ting lo­cal gov­ern­ment and res­i­dents to agree on com­mer­cial de­vel­op­ment ini­tia­tives

Main­tain­ing the charm of an old style coun­try down­town area, while at­tract­ing larger re­tail­ers to the area

En­cour­ag­ing the lo­cal farm­ing com­mu­nity to have land used to ex­pand res­i­den­tial homes and com­mer­cial sec­tors in the ar­eas im­me­di­ately sur­round­ing the town

Maxville may face a few chal­lenges in the road ahead:

The lack of retail and pro­fes­sional ser­vices will hold back many from mov­ing to the area

Lim­ited con­nec­tiv­ity avail­able in the area is a ma­jor con­cern for beau­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­grams to help re­store the down­town com­mer­cial and res­i­den­tial spa­ces. This would help to bring some co­he­sive­ness and charm to the town that will at­tract more tourist and new­com­ers.

Open­ing up ad­di­tional in­dus­trial and res­i­den­tial lands to help the area de­velop may also be worth con­sid­er­ing.

Maxville should de­velop the fair­grounds area to hold more events year round to get a con­sis­tent flow of tourists, which would help mo­ti­vate busi­ness own­ers and pro­fes­sion­als to con­sider the area. It will be a bal­anc­ing act to main­tain the small town charm, while try­ing to de­velop the com­mer­cial spa­ces down­town and grow the va­ri­ety of hous­ing op­tions at the same time.

The vis­it­ing team was com­prised of Stephen Mann, Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment & Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Of­fi­cer, Town­ship of North Dun­das; Saman­tha Berry, lawyer, Ault & Ault Law Of­fices; Vince Zand­belt, self-em­ployed con­trac­tor; Carol John­son, Ch­ester­ville and District Agri­cul­tural So­ci­ety; Anne Car­rière, owner of Sim­ply Baked Cater­ing; Jackie Pem­ber­ton, On­tario Fed­er­a­tion of Agri­cul­ture, Regional Di­rec­tor for Zone 11 (Leeds, Grenville,

RICHARD MA­HONEY PHOTO

ROUGH START: You know you’re go­ing to have a bad day when your car is in the ditch even be­fore the sun rises. This un­for­tu­nate mo­torist ended up in the me­dian on High­way 417 near Van­kleek Hill after los­ing con­trol on a slushy sur­face. Win­ter has al­ready taken a heavy toll on driv­ers. In the span of six days, some 31 mo­tor ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dents were re­ported to the Stor­mont-Dun­das-Glen­garry On­tario Provin­cial Po­lice de­tach­ment.

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