Downtown Prince George to get a boost with $250,000 in funding from Northern Development
Funding will support enhanced façade improvements, branded signage and public art
July 23, 2014
Prince George – Downtown Prince George will receive a significant development boost beginning this fall thanks in part to $250,000 in grant funding from Northern Development Initiative Trust. The funding was approved at the Trust’s July board of directors meeting, and will be used to fund the Downtown Prince George 2014 Placemaking Enhancement Initiative. Downtown Prince George (the Prince George the Downtown Business Improvement Association) will receive the funding to lead the initiative.
The project is well timed to help prepare the downtown area to welcome thousands of new visitors to Prince George in 2015 for the Canada Winter Games, 100th anniversary of the city, 25th anniversary of the University of Northern British Columbia, the BC Chamber of Commerce AGM, the North Central Local Government Association AGM and Conference and the 10th anniversary of the Trust, among other events.
The Placemaking Enhancement Initiative includes an enhanced façade improvement grant program, the installation of branded welcome signage and public art. These elements will be developed in collaboration with other City of Prince George and Downtown PG initiatives including wayfinding signage and landscaping. The collaboration is designed to leverage upcoming 2015 events for the long-term benefit of downtown including attracting new business to the area.
The initiative is an enhanced version of the Trust’s existing Business Façade Improvement program, which provides a rebate to downtown businesses to improve their storefronts in municipalities throughout the region. The additional funding is designed to execute a uniform vision for downtown Prince George to maximize the city’s 2015 opportunities, but, should it be successful, it could serve as a model for a similar enhanced program in other communities throughout the region.
Ten businesses have already signed letters of intent to apply to the enhanced façade improvement program. Representatives from Downtown Prince George will be in touch with business and property owners in the downtown area to provide more details about the program and application process beginning this week.
"This initiative is a catalyst that will boost economic development in downtown Prince George in time for the 2015 Canada Winter Games and a host of other significant milestones for the city and region as a whole," said Evan Saugstad, Chair, Northern Development Initiative Trust.
“Downtown Prince George has a great concept and strategy for improving, beautifying and re-energizing our downtown core. This funding will go a long way in commencing the beautification process,” said Mayor Shari Green of Prince George. “Having these façade improvements completed prior to the 2015 Canada Winter Games will bring additional shoppers and additional revenue to the downtown businesses.”
”We are seeing a lot of interest and momentum with our existing façade improvement grant program, presumably as a result of the events that are coming to PG in 2015,” said Carla Johnston, Executive Director of Downtown PG. “It’s really exciting that we will be able to award more than just a handful of applications and layer in some great placemaking elements.
“We are very pleased to be providing support to Downtown Prince George in the form of strategic advice about design guidelines, implementation and communications as they roll out an expanded façade improvement program that has been made possible by funding through Northern Development,” said Heather Oland, CEO of Initiatives Prince George. “We are delighted with the innovative work being done by Downtown Prince George and the investment being made by many property owners to stimulate a vibrant and attractive downtown core, which is an important draw for residents and investors.”