What Will Your Main Street Look Like?

Posted: March 21, 2018
Tagged As: Asset Management, Government, Municipal Infrastructure

When I say “Main Street,” what comes to mind? For many people, the thought of Main Street invokes images of heritage buildings in the town square.  Maybe you envision a linear street of independent shop owners like those found in so many communities across Ontario.  Or perhaps you see the business of a modern urban commercial area. No matter what form your Main Street takes, they all have key elements in common that contribute to their success; homes nearby that allow residents to walk to Main Street, sidewalks designed to move between a mix of business, and “Mom and Pop” shops run by local citizens with few chain stores in sight. Main Street is where the community gathers for celebrations, festivals, parades, shopping, a night out, or maybe even the weekly farmer’s market.

Image of Main Street, AnytownMunicipalities rightly invest in making Main Street a vibrant part of the community. In January 2018, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) announced up to $26 million in provincial funding to municipal governments for revitalization initiatives within Main Street areas to bolster economic development and support small businesses. Municipal governments can choose projects in one or both of the following categories:
  • Implement of priority financial incentives in existing municipal Community Improvement Plans (e.g. grants for physical improvements like renovations, retrofits, and structural improvements); and/or,
  • Fund strategic municipal physical infrastructure and promotional projects (e.g. signage, streetscape improvements, and marketing plan implementation) that will contribute to the success of Main Street businesses.
AMO has agreed to administer the Main Streets Revitalization initiative. The funding is an allocation-based formula for each single and lower-tier municipal government, with the exception of Toronto.  It recognizes that local Community Improvement Plans and other land use planning documents must be the guides for the investment in revitalization of Main Street areas.  No one knows your community needs better than you.

Earlier this month, AMO signed the Transfer Payment Agreement with OMAFRA.  AMO will send municipal governments the funding agreement this week. The municipal funding agreement reflects the requirements of the agreement between AMO and OMAFRA, and borrowed from the light touch approach used by the federal gas tax. Reporting under the program will be similar to the federal gas tax and accessed through AMO’s website. Updates on the program will be posted on the site as well.

So, what image do you want your Main Street to invoke? There are so many vibrant Main Streets in Ontario, we encourage you to share your story.  Please post before and after pictures of Main Streets funding projects on Twitter using the hashtag #ONMainStreets.  You can also send photos to us directly at mainstreets@amo.on.ca.

Blog post currently doesn't have any comments.