Businesses warm to CIP
BY ANGELA BROWN
Staff If the turnout for the Alexandria and Maxville town hall meetings is any indicator, chances are good business owners will soon be applying for North Glengarry’s Community Improvement Plan grants to spruce up their buildings.
B&B Food Market co-owner Carole Brunet who attended the Alexandria meeting said the subsidies will help “people like us who need help with funding” to upgrade their properties. “Every little bit helps,” she said. “It’s only to better, to beautify our business, and continue with the trends they want to do on Main Street.”
Carole and her husband Denis Brunet are the third generation of the family business that’s been going strong for the past 67 years. “Alexandria is a wonderful little town. I’m not going anywhere soon. It’s nice to see these new changes coming in,” she added.
About 55 people crowded into Sandfield Centre last Wednesday while 65 showed up in Maxville Thursday, when the township released the CIP plan, including details of an incentive program to help property own- ers and tenants pay for improvements.
“It was a good representation of the businesses on Main Street,” said Deputy Mayor Jamie MacDonald. “I’m very happy with it. I’m glad people are interested in it. It will be interesting to see the people who take us up on our offer.”
Economic development officer Kerri-Lynn Strotmann presented her report with support from architect/ University of Montreal professor Cécile Baird, who showed renderings to suggest improvements to the appearance and functionality of Alexandria’s Mill Square and Maxville’s King George Park, with an “urban village” theme.
CAO Daniel Gagnon presented information on the grants and loans program, indicating the municipality has set aside $50,000 for the grant program and has separate funding for loans. Municipal council will decide what projects will be funded.
The township will cover up to 50 per cent of approved costs.
Upgrades that would qualify for funds include signage, porches, lighting, retractable awnings, as well as new doors and windows.
Mr. Gagnon acknowledged if successful applicants’ property assessment values, and taxes, rise as a result of the improvements, the township will cover part of the increase over the first five years.
Applicants must adhere to the township’s criteria for making building facade improvements. The township aims to keep a degree of uniformity to the appearance of its downtown core, as Mr. MacDonald said: “We just want everything to match a little bit.”
Economic development officer Kerri- Lynn Strotmann spent about a year working on the CIP project that includes support from the CIP Working Group, input from surveys, community brainstorming workshops, the Arts, Culture and Heritage Advisory Committee, and data from the Glengarry County Archives.
The municipality has already submitted the CIP draft to the province for input and planned to approve it at the February 8 council meeting, with a 20-day appeal period to follow. The township will begin implementing the plan in early March.
The first phase (years 1 and 2)
of cialon the Mainand program residentialStreet is in for Alexandriaproperties commerand Maxville.
The second phase (year 3) involves commercial properties in rural hamlets, such as Glen Robertson and Dalkeith, and the third phase (years 4 and 5) is for other commercial properties, industrial land, and heritage buildings in North Glengarry.
SHARING IDEAS: Left to right, economic development officer Kerri-Lynn Strotmann, architect Cécile Baird, and Alexandria businessman Barry MacDonald share ideas following the CIP presentation in Alexandria February 3. Mr. MacDonald is also a member of...