Businesses will get a break from construction this summer. The next phase of the downtown revitalization has been put on hold for a year. Mayor Dave Canfield explains.
"We were a little presumptuous maybe that we were going to get that funding so it has fallen through the cracks this year. But it's not a big issue. It's probably good in the sense that the downtown merchants get a reprieve from construction. So we'll put together a package for next year," he said.
Canfield says they'll try to find funding through different programs. Second Street was funded by the city, the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund and FedNor. However, Canfield says that funding is probably not applicable for Chipman Street. He said you don't have the same dynamics of the businesses from Second Street that helped the get that funding.
Looking forward the next street they'd like to renovate is Chipman Street. Canfield explains when the downtown revitalization stops.
"Never. It's an ongoing thing. Part of the downtown revitalization is Chipman and Matheson but after that we'll continue to put a little bit more ourselves through tax revenue into rebuilding infrastructure each year plus the money we get through the gas tax fund. We'll continue to up that and try and fund more each year," he said.
Canfield says having a good looking and functioning downtown is a huge part of drawing tourists into the community.
"You need your downtown to be a destination. You need it to be a place where people want to come so the businesses can thrive. If you rebuild all your infrastructure around it and your downtown was a dump you won't have anybody coming here. You wouldn't have the commerce to keep the businesses that are here, alive. So you want to make sure your businesses can survive and you have a downtown that is attractive," he said.
Canfield says they'll also continue to renovate streets in residential areas and pointed to Valley Drive, which was redone last year, as an example.