The Town of Bashaw has given its blessing to a Chamber of Commerce committee looking into ways to improve the community’s appearance, especially to visitors. The discussion was held at the May 30 regular meeting of council.
Ty Wilson appeared before council to explain he spoke on behalf of the Main Street Revitalization Committee which was an effort of the Bashaw Chamber of Commerce.
Wilson stated there is a feeling that Bashaw is suffering some losses because when people drive into town the community is not as attractive as it could be.
In a letter to council Wilson stated, “We feel that Bashaw is a place unlike any other and deserves an aesthetic fitting of such a place.”
He explained the committee became aware that there are government grants available for projects such as main street revitalizations and beautifications.
His letter explained, “Our ‘non-profit’ status qualifies us to access revenue through multiple grants, government and otherwise, and this is how we will fund the project. We aim to structure it in an itemized way so that progress can be made regardless of the dollar amount required.”
Wilson added there is money out there if groups know how to find it, but deadlines can sometimes be a factor.
Wilson noted much of what the committee is looking at involves municipal property, so they wanted to discuss the revitalization directly with council to ensure everyone is on the same page.
He further explained the subject of “itemization.”
Wilson noted some communities propose one major project that takes years to come to fruition, and with the inflation issue facing so many groups he said the Bashaw committee felt it was wiser to look at a number of smaller projects that could be finished as grants become available and eventually crossed off the “to do” list.
Among the many points raised in the committee discussions is the subject of “functionality,” stated Wilson.
He noted committee members voiced concern about new projects or improvements negatively affecting the basic functionality of Bashaw, especially Main Street.
He used the subject of larger vehicles easily getting down Main Street as an example.
Councillors agreed that functionality is important, and also mentioned the town’s strategic plan, which sets out the municipality’s goals and vision for the coming years.
During discussion it was mentioned that most if not all of the committee projects will include public property because those goals are likely easier to accomplish.
Wilson stated there are some great looking historic buildings on Main Street Bashaw and it would be great to see them restored, but if they’re privately owned then those renovations are essentially up to the property owner to handle.
Town Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Theresa Fuller noted the town would likely need a commitment in writing from the committee about Main Street revitalization before council could begin making commitments themselves.
Wilson noted that the chamber has some funds of their own that they’re willing to commit to Main Street projects.
Coun. Jackie Northey stated she liked the committee’s ideas and felt council should let the committee get started and come back later to present proposals.
Councillors unanimously supported the Main Street Revitalization Committee’s plan to apply for projects for projects within the town.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review