Leadership with the City of Kenora have approved giving out $200,000 in funding to eleven local businesses to improve the look of Kenora’s downtown core and the Two Bears Marina in Keewatin.

Members of the city, councillors and business owners gathered within the Lake of the Woods Museum on Wednesday, as Mayor Dan Reynard welcomed attendees, thanked them for their support and unveiled the eleven projects receiving Community Improvement Plan funding in the community.

10 of the projects are planned for Kenora’s downtown core, with one project planned for Keewatin.

Dan Reynard Mayor Dan Reynard

“Council’s commitment to the CIP program demonstrates the significance our businesses have in our community and the continued investment from our businesses to ensure our community prospers and grows,” says Reynard.

“This program demonstrates partnerships while investing in existing businesses and providing opportunities to attract new business to our community. Council is excited about the interest in this program and the investment from our local businesses,” he adds.

The City of Kenora offers Community Improvement Planning funding each year to drive growth and development within the community. Staff note they had seen an overwhelming demand for applications in 2022, and council approved a $200,000 allocation into the program earlier this year.

“Demand for the Community Improvement Plan programs has been very strong for the past four years and so we were excited to receive additional funding from council to support more projects this year,” said Adam Smith, Kenora’s Director of Development Services.

One of the eleven projects includes Lori and Randy Nickle receiving $41,500 to redesign and improve 200 Main Street South, the location of Quesada and the Little Oak Wellness Centre, after a $138,940 private investment.

“It’s one of the prime corners in Kenora,” said Randy Nickle in an interview with Q104 and KenoraOnline, noting his daughter helped to design the building’s new look.

“With the Community Improvement Program, it was something that we looked at and said let’s see if we can capitalize and dress up that corner a little bit better and make it a little bit more inviting for people coming into the downtown section. We probably wouldn’t have done this project without the support of the city," he adds. 

The Nickle’s purchased the property roughly 20 years ago and will be working with Sierra Construction on the project. If all goes well, work is expected to be completed by the end of this year, if not sooner, but supply chain issues may force some delays.

The ten other projects receiving CIP funding include:

- Smith Falls Property Inc. will see $780 for landscaping work at 400 Second Street South, after a $16,575 investment.

- Graham and Graham Trading Co. will see $4,625 of signage and accessibility improvements at 128 Main Street South, after a $7,935 investment.

- Bob’s Burgers will receive $14,310 for facade and signage improvements at 152 Main Street South, after a $18,310 investment.

- Century 21 will see $31,841 for facade, signage, landscaping and accessibility improvements at 213-215 Main Street South, after a $109,432 investment.

- Chipman Street Laundry will see $19,000 for design work and facade and signage improvements at 4 Chipman Street, after a $62,438 investment.

- Halley’s Camps will see $1,925 in new signage at 205 Main Street South after a $1,925 investment.

- Salisbury Cruises will receive $15,112 for design work, landscaping and accessibility improvements at 232 Water Street, after a $66,388 investment,

- Sure Thing will see $14,276 facade improvements at 137 Main Street South, after a $24,513 investment.

- The Zen Den will receive $18,000 for facade improvements and a residential conversion project at 105 Main Street South, after a $38,800 investment.

- In the Keewatin area, Two Bears Marina at 105 Bay Street will see $38,271 of planning and design work, landscaping, new signage and facade improvements after a $46,729 investment.

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The city notes the majority of these grants have been awarded at 50 per cent eligible project costs and required the applicant to provide, at minimum, a matching contribution. The applications are reviewed and approved by members and volunteers with Heritage Kenora.

CIP funding began in Kenora after the Harbourtown Centre’s Community Improvement Plan was adopted by council in 2007. CIP’s are also in place for the former mill site and the Keewatin area. Since 2017, Kenora has contributed $723,088 to the three plans, resulting in over $2 million of private investments.