Funds to drive main street revitalizations

TORONTO – An announcement made yesterday (January 23) at the Rural Municipal Association Conference in Toronto will see funds flow across the province to help rural communities by supporting the revitalization of downtown and main streets.

Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the Minister Responsible for Small Business said that: Vibrant main streets help attract visitors, create jobs and increase the competitiveness of small businesses, which are the backbone of small, rural communities. That’s why the province is helping municipalities enhance and revitalize their downtown and main streets through improvements such as the installation of pedestrian crosswalks or landscaping. Municipalities can also direct funding to local businesses to improve the appearance of their storefronts by installing lighting or new signage.

South Dundas’ allocation will be $45,219.

Neighbouring municipalities, South Stormont and North Dundas will receive similar amounts of $47,148 and $45,596 respectively.

Funding allocations are based on population size and the formula includes an adjustment for smaller municipalities to ensure they are provided with an appropriate level of funding through this program.

“We have just received notice of this new funding program,” said Rob Hunter, South Dundas’ economic development officer Tuesday morning.

“Looking at this allocation, it appears that the funds could be used towards our ongoing streetscaping project or the community improvement plan that we are looking to set up,” he said, adding that he will need to learn more about the details of the program before making any specific recommendations to council about how the funds will be used.

Ontario is investing up to $26 million in the Main Street Revitalization Initiative, which will be administered by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and its rural arm, the Rural Ontario Municipal Association.

“AMO welcomes new funding through the Main Street Revitalization Initiative and we are pleased that municipal governments won’t have to provide matching funds to access the program,” said Lynn Dollin, president of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario. “This funding will help move projects forward on Ontario’s Main Streets, helping to attract residents, visitors and support the business community.”

This initiative is part of a $40 million investment over three years in the Main Street Enhancement Fund.