Restoration is underway at the BC Cafe, the Daily Grind and Simple Pleasures Country Comforts & Crafts to transform the facades back to their original appearance. The three buildings are the latest to sign on with the Maple Creek Main Street Program to have their storefronts renovated.
Cypress Ventures is completing the work on the businesses. The front of the buildings have been stripped down, and Cypress Ventures owner Darcy Dietrich and Troy Tilbury, senior architectural technologist at Tilbury Design of Moose Jaw, inspected them more closely earlier this week. According to Tilbury, everything looks good so far on all three buildings.
While the time frame of each project depends on the arrival of materials, it is hoped the work will be done before the end of the year.
Other projects still underway include work on the front of the Commercial Hotel and work on the roof and front of 37 Pacific Avenue.
The three-year pilot of the Main Street Program in four communities across Saskatchewan comes to a close this year, but the province has given a one-year period for each community to tie up loose ends. Royce Pettyjohn, Maple Creek Main Street Program co-ordinator, said the final year will be used mainly to finalize the financial aspect and make reports. Restoration work is to be finished this year, however if there is some money left over as a result of projects coming in under budget, there could be some smaller projects completed on other buildings in the spring.
According to Pettyjohn, at least 15 projects are expected to be completed before the end of the pilot program. These range from larger projects such as the Commercial Hotel to smaller ones such as the replacement of windows on the main floor of the visitors’ centre.
Because the Main Street Program is now a permanent program so long as the province has the funding available, Maple Creek has a “grace period” of honorary accredited status, Pettyjohn said. This means the community has access to support services and grant funding, and projects that weren’t undertaken during the pilot program could receive funding through the new provincial program. In its first year, the new program will have about $225,000 total available for projects. That amount will be increased to $375-400,000 annually after that. As before, the cost of projects will be covered half by the property owner and half through the program. Pettyjohn pointed out Maple Creek is fortunate to have its tax incentive program and financing program for heritage conservation work.
Two new communities are being brought on as part of the new program, joining the original four pilot communities of Prince Albert, Indian Head, Wolseley and Maple Creek.