Morrisburg plaza canopy renovation gets started

MORRISBURG – “It’s been a really long road. We’re really glad to see this starting,” said Shelley Cumberland, acting chair of the Downtown Morrisburg Business Improvement Area, about renovations at the Morrisburg Plaza that started Wednesday, November 14th.

Although she acknowledges that the timing of the project, is not ideal, it’s better late than never.

The plaza has been in dire need of a renovation for quite some time.

“I’ve been involved with the BIA for about five years, and it’s been on my plate since I started,” said Cumberland.

About this time last year the BIA circulated a survey to its membership and found that what they wanted was for the canopy to be maintained and for the municipality, which actually owns everything outside of the door of the businesses located in the plaza, to do the upkeep and spend some of the dollars council had been setting aside for plaza repairs on actually getting some work accomplished.

In May of this year, a total of about $450,000 was set aside in the municipal budget for plaza repairs. A company was hired to help the municipality define the scope of work so that they could work towards putting out a tender for the project.

In August, Porter Historical Restorations, the only bidder on the project, submitted a bid for $255,000 to complete the work that they started last week, which is the replacement of the wood fascia and canopy, which are the first phases of what will be a long term project.

According to BIA officials, the contractor expects this work to take about two to 2.5 months.

The timing of the project means that the plaza will be under construction during the busiest shopping season of the year.

Cumberland assures shoppers that they will still be able to get to and from all of the stores to fulfil their holiday shopping needs. “We’re sorry that there will be construction,” said Cumberland.

“But in the end this will be a great thing for the community.”

Small sections of barrier are set up in each area that the crew is working on and none of the work will block entrances or hamper business.

“We are hopeful for a good shopping season ahead,” she added.

Outside of her role with DBIA, Cumberland is the owner of Thom Travel in the Morrisburg Plaza.

“For us, we’ve been waiting anxiously, waiting a long time for this work to happen. We’ve been wanting to do some major upgrades to our facade, but we didn’t want to make the investment until we were sure what we planned to do fit with the integrity of the building renovation. I’m sure we’re not the ones,” said Cumberland. “Not only will this project improve the look of the canopy, it may lead to more updates.” She sees these improvements as a good step towards attracting more business to the mall.

The recent Shop Crawl, which featured a $500 gift certificate prize draw, was the kickoff to the season.

DBIA administrator Adeana McQuaig-Bedard said that in addition to the turkey draws which will take place at businesses throughout the plaza, she is also planning to host activities in the mall December 1st following the Santa Parade which draws a great crowd to the plaza.