Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Help to Revitalize Downtown Fenwick

Just as are making the final push for Fonthill’s Downtown, I wanted to bring you an update about Downtown Fenwick and invite you to be part of its revitalization too.

You will recall that in late 2008 the Town applied for funding from the Federal and Provincial government to revitalize both Fonthill’s and Fenwick’s Downtowns. The $7.1 million application envisioned major infrastructure enhancements: water, waste-water, and storm-sewer improvements; burying of hydro cables; road improvements; and proper streetscaping – better parking, brickwork, decorative lampposts, benches and planters.

In early 2009 we heard we were successful in achieving two-thirds funding to revitalize Downtown Fonthill. As you know, we started that construction work last summer and the revitalization will be complete by June 30. In fact, they have pulverized Pelham Street from Regional Road 20 to Broad Street and are constructing a new watermain and storm sewers. In the portion south of RR#20, the contractor is placing the tree beds and will be commencing the sidewalk construction, brick boulevards and planning of trees into May.

You will recall, however, that the Federal and Provincial governments deemed the improvements for Fenwick as a second project and ineligible for that 2009 funding.

But, in December 2009 the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario announced a second “intake” for the Community Adjustment Fund. In January 2010, the Town applied for $2.3 million of that program’s funding from the Federal Government for the revitalization of Fenwick’s Downtown.

We had hoped that the $2.7 million project would provide help “calm” traffic by creating urban design features – like pedestrian crossing treatments or gateways – that work with the road design to slow traffic. We had envisioned that the works would help to visually distinguish the downtown core, provide decorative roadway and pedestrian lighting to improve safety, and widen sidewalks to help make it more walkable.

Alas, we did not succeed in securing those funds and Council will have to budget for the works and / or keep pursuing grants.

However, the Town, through our engineering consultant, has continued to design a revitalized Downtown Fenwick. And, they are finally ready to publicly display the design options and to get your feedback and thoughts.

You and your neighbours are invited to review the plans at a special Public Information Centre on Wednesday, April 20 from 4:00 to 7:00 PM at Old Pelham Town Hall. I hope you will provide your feedback on the options so we can continue to work together to improve Pelham.