Seaforth Recognized with Prestigious Award from Ontario BIA Association
It was Margaret Mead who penned the famous quote about the inevitable ability of thoughtful, committed citizens to implement change.
Never was this more evident than on Seaforth’s Main Street. A collaboration between Peter Klaver, the late Debby Somerville, the Municipality of Huron East and its Municipal Heritage Committee has resulted in a dramatic facelift to the town’s business district and now notable recognition by the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA) at its recent National Conference in Thunder Bay.
“Dressing for Success”—a major renovation project in Seaforth—involved the restoration of six properties within the town’s Business Improvement Area during 2011. Klaver, a BIA Member and Past Board Chair, and BIA Member Somerville, spearheaded the major renovations undertaken at the following heritage properties:
- Timber’s Outfitters
- Decadence in the Country
- Etue Insurance and Financial
- Tulips Dental Centre
- Sally’s Closet Too!
- The Commercial Hotel
Nominees for an OBIAA award under the “Bricks and Mortar” category had to meet stringent criteria.
Innovation: a unique approach to a BIA management/development challenge
Replication: a solution or idea that could be modified and utilized by other BIA’s
Representation: inclusive, partnerships, community involvement
Outcome: significant and measurable impact; objectives reached
Given the improved aesthetics and property values on Seaforth’s Main Street, the ensuing economic development, and low commercial vacancy rate, it is evident that “Dressing for Success” achieved its goals—and OBIAA rewarded this accomplishment.
As John Kiru, President of OBIAA and executive Director of the Toronto Area BIA, noted “recognition goes a long way in encouraging BIA’s across the province to continue with their stellar work in improving the economic and social wellbeing of their communities.”
The Ontario BIA Association recognizes the best in revitalization and management, and through its awards celebrates the most successful, innovative efforts in Ontario BIA development.
“Seaforth has seen challenging times over the past few years,” says Jan Hawley, Huron East’s Economic Development Officer, “yet despite the downturn in the economy, its business district has remained vibrant, positioning itself well within the region. And the efforts of Pete and Debby played a big part in that.”
Indeed, the vision and work of Peter Klaver and Debby Somerville, supported by the Municipality and Heritage Committee, has resulted in a win-win-win: for the town, for its BIA, and for its Main Street businesses.
Contact for further information
Jan Hawley, Economic Development Officer
Municipality of Huron East
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