First facade improvement projects approved in Tillsonburg

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Ten commercial buildings in downtown Tillsonburg are about to get a heritage facelift thanks in part to contributions from the Tillsonburg Business Improvement Association (BIA) and the Town of Tillsonburg.

“The facade improvement program awards grants of up to $10,000 to qualifying exterior renovation projects, to a maximum of 50 per cent of the total project costs,” said John Kirkland, BIA chairperson in a media release. “The idea is to work collaboratively with building owners to encourage the preservation, restoration and revitalization of commercial properties in the downtown core.”

More than $98,000 was earmarked for the program in 2013, and nearly all of it has now been allocated. When the projects are complete nearly $200,000 worth of improvements will have been made in Tillsonburg’s downtown.

“We had an overwhelming response to the program,” said Kirkland. “In fact, we already have a number of projects that have been put on the waiting list for next year. Several projects are already underway, including restoration of the building occupied by Escapes Salon and Spa.

“We’re really pleased with how it’s all coming together,” said property owner Krystal West.

Planned improvements include repointing the brick, repairing the upper cornices, installing gooseneck lighting and installing new signage in keeping with the heritage features of the building.

“Tillsonburg is a model for small urban downtowns,” said Tillsonburg Mayor John Lessif. “The mix of retail, residential, professional and health care providers, along with the new library and fully occupied Town Centre has made us a leader amongst our peers. The facade improvement program will help ensure that this continues to be the case.

“Congratulations to the BIA for taking the lead and to the landlords for making the necessary investment. Tillsonburg is proud to be a partner on this initiative.

All program applications were reviewed by a committee that included representatives from both the Town and BIA, planning staff from Oxford County, representatives from the Heritage Committee, and Juri Berzins, urban design consultant and project coordinator. Over the past four months, Berzins has worked closely with property owners, providing detailed design facade concepts in accordance with the Town of Tillsonburg’s Central Area Design Study Guidelines.

The following buildings have approved for grants in 2013:

88 Broadway – Huy Jewellery

79 Broadway – The Copper Mug

81 Broadway – The Barber Shop

122 Broadway – Escapes Spa

143 Broadway – Tranquility Spa

87 Broadway – Anastacia’s Salon

77 Broadway – Tillsonburg Broadcasting

145 Broadway – The Gospel Lighthouse

18, 20, and 22 Oxford Street - Styles on the Go and vacant building

193 Broadway – Sinden’s Ltd.

Commercial property owners in the BIA zone who are interested in the 2014 grant program can contact the Town of Tillsonburg Customer Service Centre (519-688-3009) at 10 Lisgar Avenue for more information.

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