The City of Sarnia will be developing a neighbourhood revitalization project for the downtown and Mitton Village.
It's being kickstarted by a $116,000 grant under the province's Rural Economic Development (RED) Program, which the city will match.
Leena Bourne has been hired as an economic development coordinator to coordinate and deliver the program over the next two years.
It will identify opportunities for physical improvements, support new marketing efforts, and provide expanded business development services.
City of Sarnia Director of Economic Development Kelly Provost said there will be direct consultation with stakeholders, including surveys, pop-up engagements, and formal interviews.
"We want to drive people to these areas and help existing businesses grow," said Provost. "This program is meant to build on the success we had with the My Main Street program that we wrapped up earlier this year. It was a one year funded program itself and, when it came to its conclusion, we were looking for something to help with the continuation of the efforts that we had there."
Provost said part of the project plan is to improve the aesthetics of both Mitton Village and downtown.
"A lot of what we undertake will be built off of the input that we get from residents and businesses in those areas. But, we are looking to see how that fits also with other city programs that we do have. We have a community improvement program (CIP) that does have a public realm improvement area. That's something that we'll be considering about how initiatives under this program may work with our CIP program."
Initial work will also include an update of the areas’ business inventories, compilation of historical data, and community engagement events to inform short-term actions and long-term strategic revitalization priorities.
Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey commented about the announcement.
“I'm extremely pleased that the City of Sarnia Neighbourhood Revitalization Project was selected for funding under the Rural Economic Development Program, Economic Diversification and Competitiveness Stream,” said Bailey. "This investment by the province is an endorsement of the great work the team at the City of Sarnia is doing to strengthen job growth and business investment locally."
The province is investing over $4.3 million in cost-share funding through the 2023 intake, which will support up to 80 projects across Ontario.
To learn more about the program, visit www.investsarnia.ca.