Kawartha Lakes is getting more than $92,000 to enhance their downtown cores with landscaping, signage and lights, crosswalks for pedestrian safety, and even for local businesses to spruce up storefronts.
The Ontario government is aiming to help rural communities attract investment and tourism, create jobs and enhance regional economic growth by supporting the revitalization of downtowns and main streetss across the province.
Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the Minister Responsible for Small Business, Jeff Leal, made the announcement this week.
Vibrant main streets help attract visitors, create jobs and increase the competitiveness of small businesses, which are the backbone of small, rural communities, according to the Province.
Municipalities can also direct funding to local businesses to improve the appearance of their storefronts by installing lighting or new signage.
“Main streets are at the core of small, rural communities and are home to thousands of small businesses across the province,” says Leal.
- Ontario is investing up to $26 million in the Main Street Revitalization Initiative, which will be administered by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and its rural arm, the Rural Ontario Municipal Association.
- This initiative is part of a $40 million investment over three years in the Main Street Enhancement Fund, which will help strengthen small businesses in downtown and main street areas and enhance the digital presence and capabilities of small businesses through increased access to digital tools like e-commerce.
- The revitalization initiative expands upon and complements the Downtown Revitalization Program that supports main street revitalization in rural areas.
- Funding will be allocated to municipalities based on population size, using the most recent data from the 2016 Main Street Revitalization Initiative Census of Population.
- The formula includes an adjustment for those municipalities that have fewer than 25,000 residents. This adjustment ensures that small communities are provided an appropriate level of funding where their population figures would otherwise limit their respective funding allocations within the parameters of the program.
- About one-third of Ontario workers are employed by small businesses, which are businesses that employ less than 100 paid employees.
- To strengthen Ontario small businesses, the province is providing more than $500 million over three years in new initiatives that include lowering the small business tax rate by 22 per cent from 4.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent, investing in youth employment, providing support for downtown main street businesses and reducing red tape.