GRAVENHURST - The potential future face of Gravenhurst’s business heart will be revealed later this month.
A streetscape and façade improvement draft plan, spearheaded by Stempski Kelly Associates Inc. on behalf of the town and the ongoing downtown revitalization project, will be revealed following the Gravenhurst BIA’s annual general meeting Feb. 21.
“It’s going to be a great chance for the community, both business owners and residents to see what’s being proposed for the future of our uptown core,” explained Phyllis Finch, downtown revitalization project co-ordinator. “The plan’s been drafted based on community input and comments and through Stempski’s impressions and visions.”
The draft began taking shape in November of 2012, following an open house meeting with many local business owners and interested individuals taking part, giving their thoughts and hopes for what the overall appearance of the main commercial core of town will look like. Sean Kelly, owner of Stempski Kelly Associates Inc. led the crew through a series of quizzes and surveys to find some common consensus and has since been tweaking a plan to suit the town.
Kelly will return on Feb. 21 to go over the community design guideline proposals while another speaker will discuss a Community Improvement Plan and potential incentives that could be introduced to assist business operators improve their facades.
“The biggest challenge in my work to a cohesive commercial district is the inability of building owners and/or tenants to invest in the communal appearance,” Kelly says about the importance of a Community Improvement Plan working in conjunction with design guidelines. “You can do as much as you want to your one building, whether you’re an owner or a tenant, all you’re doing is creating a destination in a sea of non-destinations; it’s that communal effort that’s really, really important.
“You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a good façade,” Kelly said. “But we have to make sure the municipal program is in tune with the community.”
The BIA annual general meeting will be held from 6 until 7 p.m., Feb. 21 in the opera house theatre followed by the streetscape and façade improvement discussion from about 7 to 9 p.m.