The city is moving forward with its plans to revitalize Selkirk’s downtown with the implementation of its façade and site improvement incentive program.
Businesses in the designated downtown area can apply for the grant, which will cover up to 25 per cent of eligible façade or site improvements, to a maximum of $5,000. The improvements must total a minimum of $10,000 to be eligible for application.
Faisal Anwar, Director of Sustainable Economic Development, said the city’s Downtown Renewal Strategy is focused on revitalizing an area that is any city’s lifeblood – its downtown, and offering an incentive to business owners to kick start the process is an important part of the strategy.
“This incentive program is an important part of our strategy,” Anwar said.“The city wants to rejuvenate our downtown, and the business owners want the same thing. We want to work together to see our strategy succeed, and we want the downtown area to be a destination for everyone.”
Business community already on board
The incentive grants align with key objectives identified in the city’s Strategic Plan, specifically; revitalizing the downtown, creating a strong and stable economy building on Selkirk’s status as a regional service centre, and revitalizing Selkirk’s image.
The façade and site improvement incentive grant is part of the Selkirk Economic Incentive program, which is one of seven initiatives identified in the Downtown Renewal Strategy.
City council adopted its Downtown Selkirk Renewal Strategy in September 2016, but work on revitalizing downtown actually began in 2012 with the formation of an advisory committee. Public consultation followed and included citizens and existing business owners in the downtown and throughout the city.
Incentive grants are available to businesses in downtown’s designated area between Eveline and Main streets and McLean and Morris avenues.
Duane Nicol, Chief Administrative Officer, said the public has embraced city plans to revitalize downtown and private investment has already been strong. The city applauds that commitment and by offering incentive grants anticipates momentum already created to continue to gain strength.
“This is the first in a suite of incentive programs we plan to launch over the next couple of years. Using targeted incentives to leverage large private sector investments is a strategy that has been quite successful for other cities. We’ve seen new business starts and multi-million dollar redevelopments happen in our downtown and this program will help stimulate more. Our community strategic plan calls for a vibrant downtown, and we are seeing the realization of that vision,” Nicol said.
A transformation in the making
The federal and provincial governments also committed $1.7 million to help fund a major redesign and renewal of Manitoba Avenue East. Nicol said this project will be more than a facelift, but the creation of a new, modern, pedestrian-focused streetscape.
“It will truly be an extension of our beautiful waterfront. It will be a defining feature of our downtown, a place for the community to meet and enjoy the best our city has to offer. With this new grant program, property owners will have the opportunity to renew their businesses and take full advantage of this multi-million dollar public investment,” Nicol said.
A wide variety of improvements will be considered for grant money, including awnings, canopies, lighting replacement, doors, window replacement, trash enclosures, brick cleaning and repair, painting, façade restoration or improvements, handicap accessibility, landscaping, parking lot lighting and resurfacing, curbing, signage and sidewalks and walkways.
New construction, interior and roofing improvements as well as loan or attorney fees are among the items not eligible for grants.
The city will consider five requirements when business owners apply – sustainability of the design, accessibility, whether or not the project conserves Selkirk’s heritage, whether it integrates community character and landscape and finally, if the project is aesthetically appropriate.
If approved, the grant amount will be determined by how many of the five requirements the applicant meets. If the applicant meets two, a grant of 10 per cent will be approved; if the applicant meets all five, the maximum 25 per cent will be awarded.
The grant money will be funded through the city’s Economic Incentive Reserve Fund, which the city established at the start of this year.
For more information on the façade and site improvement incentive grant or how to apply, please chick HERE