Earlier this summer, the Township of Cavan Monaghan together with the Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corporation unveiled over $330,000 worth of street enhancements in Downtown Millbrook. This was a large step forward for Millbrook and downtown revitalization. Aging infrastructure on King Street presented the Township, specifically the Downtown Millbrook Revitalization Advisory Committee, with the opportunity to move forward with some recommended streetscape and design enhancements for King Street. These recommendations were put forward as part of a preliminary design concept from Basterfield and Associates back in 2013.
At the completion of the project, King Street was furnished with resurfaced asphalt with new line markings; new cross walks with painted markings, painted bump outs, new sidewalks, impressed concrete brick pavers, street trees and upgraded streetlights.
This new and improved look is wonderful, however, now when we lift our eye off the street level and start looking up; we see that much work is still needed.
You will recall at budget time last year, Council earmarked $20K to the Downtown Millbrook Revitalization Advisory Committee as matching funds for a grant application to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food & Rural Affairs (OMAFRA’s) Rural Economic Development Program (RED) for the completion of a Community Improvement Plan which would include a Detailed Streetscape and Design Guideline. The BIA quickly added another $10K to that budget item in support of the CIP.
The objective of having a CIP in place is to continue to foster downtown revitalization. Communities all over Ontario have implemented their own plans. Cobourg, Smith Falls, and Kingston, just to name a few have all benefited from implementing CIPs. A CIP can be built with our needs and priorities in mind and can:
- focus attention on specific initiatives,
- target areas in need of repair/rehabilitation,
- facilitate community change in a focused manor,
- and stimulate private sector investment through municipal incentive based programs.
In short it provides a framework for municipalities to actively participate and/or encourage development in accordance with the Detailed Streetscape and Design Guideline.
A Detailed Streetscape and Design Guideline would build upon the conceptual streetscape design provided by Basterfield and Associates as part of the Downtown Millbrook Revitaliation Plan. It would provide greater detail and guidance on such things as street lighting, gateway elements, pavements, greening, and street furnishings such as benches and bike racks. It would include a façade segment which would offer guidance on elements such as business signage and lighting, awnings, and overall composition of the external views of the buildings.
Unfortunately, early in 2016, the RED funding program (from the Province) was put on hold thus creating a barrier for the DMRC’s plan to develop a CIP with Detail Streetscape and Design Guideline. Despite this set back, the Committee, regrouped and recognized that the importance of this project and continued to push forward.
Since the Detailed Streetscape and Design Guideline is a critical component to Downtown Revitalization, and could be developed independently from the CIP, the Committee opted to focus the time and resources on the development of the Detailed Streetscape and Design Guideline. This decision was supported by Council and the Committee is now in the process of issuing a Request for Proposal for a Consultant to complete the Design Guidelines.
Once created, this document becomes the go-to resource for everyone working towards achieving our long term vision. As stated earlier, it will build upon the conceptual streetscape design provided by Basterfield and Associates as part of the Downtown Millbrook Revitalization Plan.
The next step for the Committee will be to embark on the process of developing the CIP.
The Detailed Streetscape and Design Guidelines together with the CIP will be a powerful tool and another fantastic example of how Township staff, committees, organizations, businesses, and Council, can all come together around a common goal for the betterment of our amazing community.
By Ryan Huntley