DIGBY, N.S. - Business owners and other community representatives are working with Digby council to create a downtown façade program.
Town of Digby Mayor Ben Cleveland said a committee has been formed to look at sprucing up the town and make it more attractive to locals and visitors.
“We’re going to meet on a monthly basis and at the end of it, maybe come up with some kind of document saying this is what we want the Town of Digby to look like,” he said.
“We’re going to talk about what is our vision and mission for the community. What do we want Digby to look at? Part of that is a façade program. Is there some sort of façade program for downtown business improvements that we could put into place?”
Cleveland said the committee consists of a wide range of individuals from different sectors.
“I’m sitting on it and there’s another councilor…There’s a member of the board of trade, there’s a member of the downtown business association, and there’s a member or two from the art community.”
The mayor said the meetings have proven fruitful with many ideas bantered about.
“Is this town in dire need of some unique artwork, or murals? Does it need more tree planting?
“We are considering replacing our sidewalks so maybe we could come up with something like unique looking sidewalks – something that makes people say, ‘Wow!’”
Mayor Cleveland said this program is an important file not just for the downtown, but also for the entire community. He said this file could combine with other beautifying efforts such a green space initiative by the Digby Hospital.
“As far as I’m concerned, we have one of the most beautiful waterfronts in the province…So, what can we do to make it more attractive, not only downtown, but throughout the rest of the community, hence that piece of land by the hospital.”
The mayor said there isn’t a specific timeline for this project and that there are certain steps to take before it becomes a reality.
“It’s a committee made up of some very busy business people…We’re going to be able to produce a document that might look at a three-year or five-year plan and start looking at funding sources.”
Cleveland said the most likely scenario for funds would see the town chip in money, along with businesses and other partners.
“Typically with façade programs, that’s exactly how they work. Municipal governments would commit some dollars, and then we would look for a commitment from business owners and boards of trades and those kind of groups to work as a partner.”
Cleveland concluded that the Town of Digby could look to other nearby community as an example of how successful a façade program can be.
“The Town of Yarmouth has had quite a successful one the last year or two. If you went to Yarmouth five years ago and you go today, you’ll see quite an improvement on the buildings and they have a façade program.”