Business could benefit from CIP
Minden Hills’ community improvement plan could offer grants to business owners within the village of Minden for improvements to the facades of their building, should the township provide funding under the CIP in 2020.
Township economic development, destination and marketing officer Emily Stonehouse discussed the CIP, along with a design guide for those who might be interested in the program, during a Dec. 12 council meeting.
A community improvement plan allows council, through a bylaw, to establish a physical area wherein the township can offer financial incentives to private property owners – both residential and commercial – for physical improvements to their properties. Council adopted a CIP area, which is essentially downtown Minden, in June.
“It was noted that although the CIP was a helpful resource, it was lacking specific guidance and direction for businesses interested in participating in the CIP,” Stonehouse told councillors. “Council directed staff to strike a design committee of local business owners to assist with colour, theme and directional recommendations to make the CIP more accessible and user-friendly.”
A design guide was created.
“The guide was designed as a resource to complement the existing CIP and provide interested businesses with direction and recommendations that would create a cohesive appearance to the downtown core,” Stonehouse said. “So this is designed to very much be just a user-friendly little guidebook, it’s kind of bright and colourful and in it there’s some recommendations from business owners to kind of create a more cohesive look. None of these are mandatory, but they’re definite recommendations.”
The guide lays out the criteria of the program in point form, and makes recommendations on the use of certain heritage colours, for example.
“It’s so that if a business comes in to us and says we’re interested in participating, I can say here’s a little book,” Stonehouse said.
With maximum facade improvement grants of up to $15,000, it’s Stonehouse’s recommendation that $60,000 be budgeted for 2020. However, Minden Hills councillors held their first round of budget deliberations on Dec. 12, and it remains unclear what may remain, or be cut from, departmental draft budgets.