Downtown MJ Assoc. moves into second phase of planning to improve downtown experience
The Downtown Moose Jaw Association says the public will be seeing several developments downtown as they move into their second phase of planning that will enhance Moose Jaw’s downtown experience for locals, businesses and visitors.
The Association met on Monday, August 27 at the Moose Jaw Public Library to discuss ideas that will improve downtown and stimulate more business and public engagement.
Vicki Watson, business owner and chair of the Downtown Association, says the goal of the meeting is to provide a brief and formal update of what they have been working on to date.
She says some of the progress so far includes updating a current communication list for downtown businesses. “At this meeting, we’re basically trying to formulate our next 30-60-90-day action plan where we’re trying to come up with actional items that are crucial to the success of our downtown. This is our second phase of planning.” Watson said one of the immediate actions that the Association is working on is lighting for the downtown area that will make it more attractive. “We have been working on trying to finalize a lighting strategy for our downtown. We would like to have soft white lights that are able to be used year-round at an affordable price.”
The Association has also been working with the Saskatchewan Economic Development Authority (SEDA) as a pilot project, establishing an association of dedicated downtown Moose Jaw business people over the last several months. The group says their strategy is to improve downtown and keep it viable for years to come and to bring businesses together to succeed. “We have also been working on some marketing initiatives and the incorporation of our group. We’ve been working with Saskatchewan Economic Development Authority (SEDA) to spearhead our group into a more formal group. We do not have funding at this time, but we are working on getting interested participants in working to enhance our downtown,” she explained.
The Association recently facilitated a community engagement survey (https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DowntownMJEngagement) and is working on continued collective marketing initiatives with a marketing sub-committee. The Association will be reporting on progress regarding these downtown initiatives and strategies moving forward. “So, heritage and beautification are the focus, as well as marketing collectively and engaging tourists in our downtown experience. We really want to focus on what our downtown looks like and should look like, as we go about enhancing its beauty and its experience.” Watson added that the overall goal is to keep downtown active all year so that it will keep attracting locals and visitors. “We’d like to also attract more businesses that will serve downtown and stay viable. We’ve been working on identifying vacancy rates and understanding what the public wants to see in downtown.”
“We also want to have more public events downtown, as well as enhancing the ones we already have, and an extension of events for our shoulder season—February and March, as well as April,” she said. “Moose Jaw has a really unique experience to offer and we want to build on that and we hope to see more business engagement.” She said the Association is looking forward to putting plans into actions as they move to improve Moose Jaw’s downtown. “I’m excited that many persons turned out at this meeting and I’m looking forward to building on the great ideas and moving forward. People will see more in the next 90 days and they will see staple events getting bigger. It is an integrated approach where businesses are working together with the City, and other groups, to ensure we all achieve the same goal.”
Vicki Watson addresses the Downtown Association meeting.