The success of the Main Street Program’s pilot in Maple Creek and three other Saskatchewan communities has resulted in the province extending the program.
Council discussed the positive impact of the program during its regular meeting on July 9.
The Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport announced last week Main Street Saskatchewan will be continued. Launched in 2011, the demonstration program included Indian Head, Maple Creek, Prince Albert and Wolseley. In those three years, the government reported it has invested $1.65 million in the communities, resulting in 66 new jobs created, 22 new businesses opened, $4.9 million committed to historic building and streetscape improvements and $6.5 million in property acquisitions.
Royce Pettyjohn, Maple Creek Main Street Program co-ordinator, said participation in the program has helped the local community better understand the connection between heritage conservation, first impressions, tourism and economic development.
He intends to apply to have the program continue in Maple Creek. If it is accredited through Main Street Saskatchewan for continuous support, Maple Creek will be called upon to mentor other communities in the program.
“It’s good. It helps us share our knowledge,” stated Councillor Tina Cresswell.
In other business, the town has purchased the digital sign located on Pacific Avenue from Ron’s Signs. The sign was purchased for $25,000 as the business was having difficulty securing consistent advertising.
The town agreed non-profit community events should be able to be advertised for free, but council will further discuss the rates for other advertising.
Council accepted one tender on a property that was for sale by tender as it had fallen into tax arrears. Two tenders were received for 113 Griffin Street. The bid which was high enough to cover the owing taxes on the property was accepted. Two other properties up for tender – 210 Herbert Street and 111 Lonsdale Street – are being re-advertised as no tenders were received which were high enough to cover the taxes owing.
Council is working to have the alley behind Harrigan Crescent cut down in the near future, as residents are concerned that runoff from rainstorms and draining off the new healthcare facility property will flow onto their properties. The alley currently sits at a higher level than the properties.
Councillor Ellaine Hawrylak reported on the Heritage Advisory Committee’s most recent meeting. Masonry work has started on the Armoury, where a crew is replacing damaged bricks in the building. Once work is complete there, it will begin on the Jasper Centre.
She also noted Communities in Bloom judges will be in town Aug. 8, and the CiB garden tour will be held July 20. Participants will tour two beautiful backyards in town before boarding a bus for a country garden tour and supper.
An amendment was made to the property maintenance bylaw. Lawns were previously permitted to grow to a length of eight inches before requiring to be cut, but it has been changed to six inches. Overgrown vegetation must be cut within 36 hours of receiving notification from the bylaw officer. Should the property owner not resolve the problem, the town will undertake the action itself and the cost will be added to the property taxes. Council approved the amendment.