Fifteen Gravenhurst businesses will be getting facelifts thanks to the Community Improvement Program (CIP) grants that were approved at the Committee of the Whole meeting on May 16.
This year’s CIP recipients are:
- 260 Muskoka Rd. S, Essence of Spice $4,027.24
- 195 Muskoka Rd. N, The Patio $4,000
- 141 Muskoka Rd. S, Blooming Muskoka $1,154.50
- 1120 Bay St., T. Burtch Holdings $7,500
- 1120 Bay St., Strata Wealth $7,837.50
- 125 Steamship Bay Rd., Pharmasave $5,957.42
- 900 Bay St., Blue Willow Tea Shop $10,565
- 100 Muskoka Rd., Pampered by the Bay $672.50
- 110 Steamship Bay Rd., Muskoka Wharf Condominiums $1,500
- 1100 Bay St., Boston Pizza $6,487.50
- 390 Bay St, K. Bradfield $2,562.50
- 908 Bay St., The Shipyards $4,198.77
- 181 Bay St., D. Dutka $12,882.50
- 291 Bay St., Inn on Bay $3,182.50
- 275 Steamship Bay Rd., Muskoka Discovery Centre $985.25
The annual program makes financial assistance available to businesses and property owners in the Gravenhurst urban area. The Town issues the grant money only after projects are completed.
The 2023 CIP program received 17 applications, however two were considered ineligible as they lacked supporting documents. The requests for funding in 2023 totaled $73,513.18. This year, the program was allocated $70,000 through the operating budget and had access to an additional $26,778.83 of unused funds available in the Community Improvement Reserve from previous years, making a total amount of $96,778.83 available for the 2023 program.
Nicole Hilton, Economic Development Coordinator spoke to council, saying that the program, now in its 11th year, “continues to be a great source to encourage ongoing maintenance and improving the physical environments of properties.”
All of the grant recipients are in the downtown corridor, Bay St. and Muskoka Wharf area. The Community Improvement Plan has 12 overall goals which were summarized in the accompanying report to council as: “Improve the look and feel of private properties in the urban core, improve the structural viability of commercial and residential space in the urban core, stimulate investment and bring buildings into conformity with current code regulations, to encourage visual consistency throughout the urban core.”
Hilton said that the most popular categories for applicants continue to be main and front façade improvements as well as signage and restoration of a business, landscaping or structural upgrades.
She also gave a brief update on the 2022 program, that out of 14 grant recipients, four have been completed and another three are partially finished and many are “actively working” on their improvements.
Overall, since the start of the program, the Town has granted just over $600,000 which has resulted in $12 million in upgrades and repairs.
Mayor Heidi Lorenz reiterated that the CIP is “a great way for the town to support people wanting to improve their property” and Coun. Sandy Cairns said she has noted “huge improvement in the community through the CIP program over the years.”
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