Storefront program sprucing up town
Turner Valley: Sixteen businesses on board with beautification project
Wednesday, Nov 01, 2017 06:00 am
Turner Valley’s main street has brightened up since merchants signed on with the Town’s new beautification program.
Four businesses completed improvements and another six are in progress since the Town implemented its storefront enhancement pilot program last spring, which offers matching grants of up to $5,500 to help cover the costs of exterior upgrades that align with the Town’s downtown design guidelines.
Dr. Wayne Steiger, owner of the Diamond Valley Veterinary Clinic, is among those who signed up.
“It’s just one of those things you put off because it’s an expense,” he said. “When someone comes along with a little help, you go ahead.”
The clinic now sports a brown and cream paint job, new decks and a new sign, Steiger said.
While the building had some updates during the 25 years Steiger has owned it, he said it’s been a few years since he’s done any work.
“It was getting dated,” he said. “Now it has better curb appeal and it makes the staff feel a little better going to work.”
Sixteen businesses have applied for the program and were provided with architectural design services, said Monique LeBlanc, Turner Valley community services and business development manager.
“I was delighted that 16 local businesses were able to participate,” she said. “When you look over the years at some of the pressures that have been on businesses, not only economically but some of the setback as a result of the flood, this has given us an opportunity to provide additional support and build confidence and collectively we are really encouraged by what we hope will be improved economic activity.”
LeBlanc said one of the goals of the program is to attract more businesses and potential investors to Turner Valley’s downtown.
Council budgeted $60,000 for the pilot project, which ends Dec. 31. To date, businesses invested approximately $50,000 and the Town contributed $28,600, LeBlanc said.
“I’m very encouraged by the rate of return as most businesses have or will exceed their 50 per cent requirement,” she said.
The program is available to businesses in the commercial area of Main Street and Sunset Boulevard, which are eligible to receive 50 per cent of eligible costs to a maximum of $5,000 to help replace or add new doors, windows, canopies, paint and other modifications, as well as $500 for new signage.
A portion of the funding is drawn from business licence fees and the rest from unallocated reserves.
The municipality provides architectural design guidelines, established in 2006, and consultation through a contracted professional service. The final design is to be decided on by the business owner.
“It’s what they can do,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be the full recommended work. Money is very tight for businesses right now.”
LeBlanc estimates that 40 businesses are eligible for the program.
“I had expected that while the partnership and incentive is attractive for many businesses, regrettably several others were not able to participate this year due to economic stresses,” she said. “However, most have indicated they are hoping they will be in a better position next year to take advantage of the program should it be offered.”
Once the pilot program ends in two months, LeBlanc said it will be up to council to determine whether or not to continue it.
“The results will be compiled and evaluated prior to making a recommendation to council during the budget discussions,” she said.