Final phase of Community Improvement Plan begins
“Beautiful main streets are good for business and they are also good for developing strong communities.”
That is the premise behind the North Glengarry Community Improvement Plan (CIP), which has entered its final phase.
It was launched in February 2016 as part of a concerted effort to revitalize Main Streets and to strengthen businesses.
The last of three phases of the project started January 1 with new eligibility criteria.
All commercial and industrial property owners can apply. Properties that have been identified to be of significant heritage interest and which have been included on the Municipal Heritage Register, are also eligible, as are properties identified in Phase 1 and Phase 2. In its first phase, the CIP applied only to properties in designated areas of Alexandria and Maxville’s Main Streets. Last year the program extended to include designated main street addresses in Apple Hill, Dalkeith, Dominionville, Dunvegan, Glen Robertson, Glen Sandfield, Greenfield and Lochiel.
“I am very proud of CIP initiative in the Township of North Glengarry. In the first three years of the program we saw dramatic improvements in our main streets in both Alexandria and Maxville. It is my hope that this energy will also carry over to our hamlets, commercial areas and properties of heritage interest in the township over the next two years,” said Councillor Jeff Manley, chair of the Arts, Culture and Heritage Advisory Committee, which oversees the CIP.
More than 30 properties have participated in the program and the changes implemented at these locations have dramatically changed our landscape.
“The Quirky Carrot restaurant was one of the very first projects to receive CIP funding for its location in Alexandria. The transformation of this building inspired others, who came forward afterwards in efforts to strengthen the visibility and appearance of their own businesses and homes, while collectively transforming the vitality of our downtown cores,” says the township. “Other changes soon followed. People began taking back community spaces and hosting community events in areas such as the Mill Square, in Alexandria. The increased activity in the park led to further beautification efforts, including new furniture and a Glengarry Routes Interpretive Panel, which was installed there last year. Vacancies dropped and rental units are now in higher demand, as new businesses have been attracted, filling empty buildings with new entrepreneurs.”
At the end of April, more than 60 people attended meetings in Maxville and Alexandria, where they learned about the CIP and the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Regional Incentives Program, which offers a similar range of grants designed to help local businesses to grow.
Eligible work includes fa̧cade improvements, signage, commercial awnings, landscaping and public art.
The North Glengarry’s CIP is an award-winning project that has gained widespread recognition. It is also helping to inspire neighbouring communities to implement similar programs.
In 2017, Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell officially presented the North Glengarry Arts, Culture and Heritage Committee with the Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award for Excellence in Conservation. This award specifically recognized the committee’s support in launching the CIP and the Glengarry Routes Heritage Tour.
“Both projects were seen to make a significant, positive impact on the community. Late last year, our neighbours in South Glengarry launched their own CIP program. All six municipalities within the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry now operate CIP programs, including three which launched within the past year,” says the township.
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