By Dianne Pinder-Moss – Perth
With demand for funding through the Community Improvement Plan (CIP) greatly exceeding the $25,000 allocated in the Perth 2016 budget, unanimous approval was given for a budget deviation of an additional $20,000 in funding at the April 12 Perth Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting.
This will allow businesses that have approached town staff about funding following the initial intake of seven applications totaling $24,224.85 to also submit applications to proceed with work this year.
Jeff Dean, who made a presentation at the COW session, said he was happy to hear that council is continuing to partner with local businesses and building owners to make Perth even better.
“I can’t wait to see the downtown’s continual evolution this spring with this extra investment by the town and the private sector,” said Dean who has been a member of the CIP Implementation Advisory Panel since 2011, representing the Perth Community Development Committee. “I am even more curious and excited to see what future projects and phases that develop next year as these projects will likely inspire these business/building owners to further invest or neighbours to do so as the Perth downtown continues to become a safer and more exciting place to invest and enjoy.”
Through the Façade and Signage Improvement Funding Program of the CIP, businesses and property owners that qualify are eligible to receive a matching grant, valued at one-third of their capital cost to a maximum of $5,000, for any improvements they wish to make to the exterior of their buildings. Dean reported that, in the last six years, including the seven applications already approved for 2016, the CIP project has seen more than $500,000 invested in the downtown — $149,966 from the town and $384,246 from the private sector.
At the time of his presentation, there were 11 additional businesses who had expressed an interest in participating in the program. As of Monday, April 18 that number had grown to 14 potential businesses.
“Every week brings out more interest from our businesses, especially as the weather gets nicer and applicants like Coutts Coffee start their projects,” Shannon Baillon, director of community services said.
For Councillor Judy Brown who chairs the CIP Implementation Advisory Panel, the growing interest of businesses in the program is an indicator of the pride that business owners have not only in their businesses but in the community. “Success breeds success,” she stated at the meeting.