Business façade program improves the look of Marine Avenue in Powell River

City and Community Futures pair to run program

Eight Marine Avenue businesses took part in a program to improve the look of the storefronts in a joint program between City of Powell River and Community Futures Powell River.

At the Tuesday, November 5, committee of the whole meeting, senior planner Daniella Fergusson outlined the 2018/2019 business façade improvement program and provided an update for the committee.

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Fergusson said back in 2018, city council allocated $25,000 for the program and in 2019 staff worked closely with Community Futures Powell River to run it.

“The purpose of the program is to improve the appearance of this distinct business area in Powell River on Marine Avenue, one building at a time,” said Fergusson. “The purpose of the money is to provide grant money to businesses, administered by Community Futures Powell River, to improve the appearance of buildings. The city allocated $25,000 and Community Futures also allocated $25,000 for a $50,000 budget.”

Fergusson said applicants could apply for the program and had to match the funding. The city and Community Futures would grant up to $2,500 per building façade and that had to be matched dollar for dollar by the business owner or tenant of the building. The program could involve the front of the building facing the road or, if it’s a corner building, the applicant could apply for two façades and get up to $5,000.

The program is administered by Community Futures Powell River and the city provided background support. Part of the program included providing architectural services to the applicants to help imagine what would be possible within the budget to upgrade the façade. Fergusson said Community Futures also provided the opportunity for businesses to apply for a loan if they wanted assistance with their portion of the funding.

Thirteen businesses expressed interest in the program in the fall of 2018 and applications were taken at the beginning of this year. People started working with the architect in the spring, work took place in some cases in the summer and this fall people have been completing the work.

“Eight businesses applied to the program and that represented 10 façades,” said Fergusson.

Some of the businesses had corners, so two sides were done.

“To date, five businesses, which are seven façades, have completed the work,” she added. “Businesses have until the end of this year to complete the work in order to be eligible for the grant funding.”

Fergusson said council had allocated another $25,000 so this program could be continued for a second year.

“Community Futures has been wonderful to work with and they are looking forward to working with us again on the 2020 program,” said Fergusson. “With their support as well it’s a $50,000 program.”

Businesses that took part in the 2018/2019 program included: Marine Medical Building, Base Camp, Wind Spirit Art, Rockit Music, Golden Gate Variety Store, Kelly’s Health Shop, 32 Lakes Café and Great Balls of Wool.

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