CANMORE – Canmore’s town centre is about to become a little more vibrant thanks to a new grant program aimed at creating more public spaces.
Council unanimously agreed on May 7 to create a matching grant program to leverage the creativity, energy and financial resources of local businesses to create more spaces for people to congregate downtown.
The aim of the new program is to encourage businesses to come forward with ideas to improve the vibrancy of the town centre, such as creating more outdoor seating, public patios, functional artwork or bicycle parking. Other possible ideas include installing planters or enhanced lighting.
Andy Esarte, manager of engineering, said the $50,000 program will use funds that were already earmarked by council for a similar project over the next two years, however by matching funding provided by local businesses, the Town hopes to add five or more “parklets” over the next two years.
Under the new program, the Town will work in collaboration with the Business Improvement Association, which will vet each idea before making a recommendation to the Town’s engineering department.
If the application is successful the Town will cover 50 per cent of the project up to $10,000 per business. Neighbouring businesses are encouraged to apply together.
Esarte said the grant program will not impact the current patio program, however it could eliminate some on street parking locations directly in front of businesses located on Main Street, 6th Avenue and 7th Avenue.
“The current patio program has been quite successful and will continue in its present form,” said Esarte. “This isn’t intended to supplant it or change that, it’s really a different type of patio or different type of space that gets created – one that’s not private for the exclusive use of customers.”