Mind Your Own Business

John Barclay

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Friends of Downtown:

When I accepted the position of Executive Director in January of 2016, I was quite frank about how I saw my primary function working with the Old Town Kemptville BIA again. I was going to “either help build it or blow it up”.

The BIA in 2018 – Will It Grow or Die?

The jury is still out on how successful we’ve been in building the BIA over the past two years. “We” because the current BIA Board of Management is committed to creating much more value to BIA Members and Associate Members than we currently offer. The alternative scenario remains – the status quo is simply untenable; we can’t continue in our current form. The BIA comprises a tiny physical footprint (see map below) representing no more than 70 to 80 businesses and tries to provide value to all of Downtown Kemptville on a budget of less than $25,000 a year. 

Current Old Town Kemptville BIA footprint

 

As we approach our ten-year anniversary on January 1st, 2018, the question of expanding the Old Town Kemptville Business Improvement Area boundaries to better serve the local business community is attracting not only interest but also support from existing members and potential members alike.

A bit of background is necessary at this point – In 2015, the BIA received matching funds from the Eastern Ontario Development Program to commission a Business, Marketing and Programming Plan from the consulting firm of McSweeney & Associates. In their final report dated July of that year, they recommended:

In order to successfully support the achievement of the Downtown Vision, and achieve greater resident and visitor attraction to both Downtown and to Kemptville, McSweeney and Associates recommends to the Municipality of North Grenville the consideration of a new BIA to be established for the Urban Service Area of Kemptville that includes the current BIA area”.

In July of this year a BIA Expansion Steering Committee was struck to identify the potential new boundaries and set a date for one or more formal public information sessions. The Steering Committee, chaired by our Treasurer, Stephen Bent (Manager,CIBC), recently completed an Boundary Expansion Prospectus which was approved by the BIA Board of Management for public distribution and discussion two weeks ago.

The Old Town Kemptville BIA has a two-fold aim in proposing boundary expansion: a) to continue our work reasserting the importance of smart growth for Kemptville and b) to expand our programs into adjacent areas, where they will add value to property owners and businesses alike. Next steps include meeting with Council and Municipal staff and to hold public meetings to determine the degree of community interest in proceeding with the proposed boundary changes.

Currently comprising Prescott Street from Elizabeth Street to Clothier Street and Clothier from Rideau to Barnes, the Old Town Kemptville BIA has for several years serviced businesses just outside its formal footprint and in the past two years has slowly moved away from the “Old Town” branding to a more generic “Downtown” appellation.

Yellow: Current BIA footprint; Red: Urban Service Area

These directional signs on Hwy 43 were funded by the BIA with help from the EODP

 

           

The fear of “losing” Old Town Kemptville’s identity within a larger BIA footprint is a commonly raised concern, but it should be balanced against the opportunity provided by much more extensive marketing that will reach into secondary markets, provide cross-marketing and promotion of two or three different types of “experiences” in Kemptville. The preservation of a downtown identity will always remain a critical part of marketing the overall Kemptville experience.

What many people aren’t aware of is that BIAs are member-funded through an additional levy applied to commercial and industrial properties within the footprint and that income goes straight into area improvements and programming. Annual BIA budgets are submitted to Municipal Council for approval, as well as being independently audited by external auditors.


Copies of the Boundary Expansion Prospectus are available upon request

The Boundary Expansion Prospectus focuses on lowering the levy (per $1,000 of assessed property value) from $2.30 to $1.00 while presenting a range of itemized budget items to prospective members. A new Kemptville BIA would see its budget increase from $25,000 to $131,000 based on this lower levy and the larger footprint. It could provide for such things as regional advertising as well as local advertorials highlighting 24 businesses a year; an office with full time staff and a detailed Economic Survey every three years. Put out to tender, this professionally conducted survey would provide members with detailed information about the trading area and customer preferences within it – beyond what is available through Statistics Canada – including people-on-the-street interviews.

A Kemptville BIA would be a better advocate for economic development within our community, with the goal that employment growth in Kemptville is realized through theretention and expansion of local small business.

A Kemptville BIA would have sufficient resources and capacities to reach and market much more effectively and consistently into both primary and secondary markets. There are far greater results and successes to be gained by marketing a “complete package” of all that Kemptville has to offer.

A Kemptville BIA could represent concerns more anonymously and effectively as a larger group than a single business/property owner. For example, a new expanded BIA could be very effective at liaising with the Municipality and the County with respect to the revitalization of the Highway 43 corridor and future boulevard and street-scaping plans.

The boundaries of the Old Town Kemptville BIA were created over ten years ago. Since then there has been significant growth in North Grenville and we will see even more commercial growth over the next 5 years. A new more effective Kemptville Business Improvement Area should be in place to meet this challenge.

Cheers and Happy New Year!

John

John Barclay, Executive Director
Old Town Kemptville Business Improvement Area
exec.director.bia@gmail.com
613.322.8132

Su Ouellette, owner of SuGold Jewellery and Giftware (one of our Participating Merchants downtown) presents the Old Town Christmas Basket to this year’s winner, Julie Culkeen.

 


Our 1st Pop-Up Shop Opening

Kemptville Kids Pediatric Therapy Services
200 Prescott Street

This is a new business launched by Kim Bennett (a Speech-Language Pathologist) and Kimberley Smalridge (a Pediatric Physiotherapist) through the Kemptville Pop-Up Shop Program. It is a one-stop pediatric therapy therapy centre for children and their families to access needed speech and physical therapy services locally.
Left to Right: John Barclay (Executive Director, Old Town Kemptville BIA), Stephen Bent (Treasurer, Old Town Kemptville BIA), Kim Bennett & Kimbereley Smalridge (Kemptville Kids Pediatric Therapy Services), Heather Lawless (Executive Director, Grenville Futures Community Development Corporation) and Chris McCorkell (Chair, Grenville Futures Community Development Corporation)

 


Downtown celebrates its ongoing revival with four grand openings in one day!

John Barclay

In her Annual Report to members of the BIA on Wednesday, November 15th, Deb Wilson (Chair) highlighted the growth of several existing businesses and the growing number of new businesses that established themselves downtown this year.

This year Downtown Kemptville saw the expansion of Array Hair Studio, the Dill Flower Studio and Voice2Net and welcomed many new businesses, including the professional engineers of ISI Controls Inc.; Setanta Solutions Inc, another professional IT service; Exit Realty By Design and the Integrated Business Solutions Group.

The new growth downtown hasn’t all been just professional services however. We’ve seen new investment downtown – new owners of the mixed martial arts studio (formerly Tekken MMA), new owners of the Brewing Oasis, as well as new owners of the South Branch Bistro (formerly the Branch Restaurant) and the Clothier Mills Motel across the street. The Bowen Approach is now located at 3 Clothier and Get Cronk’d a new fitness business opened at 9 Clothier at the beginning of the year and GlowSport – Kemptville, The Glow Entertainment Company opened at 29 Clothier Street East.

By the Prescott Bridge both 10A and 10B Prescott are now occupied. This location, Hustle & Heart, also serves as the downtown address for Willow & Rose and Nowtaskr. The Prim Shed at 419 Rideau Street and New Energy Kreations renovated a showroom at 132 Prescott, which has greatly improved the streetscape of that section of Prescott.

There’s more to come in the months ahead, too. That’s why the BIA wanted to take a breath and pause to celebrate the ongoing revival of downtown on December 1st with Four Grand Openings and Two Open Houses in one day. Below is the schedule for the afternoon.

Kemptville Kids Pediatric Therapy Services
200 Prescott Street – 12:00 noon (Ribbon Cutting)
This is a new business launched by Kim Bennett (a Speech-Language Pathologist) and Kimberley Smalridge (a Pediatric Physiotherapist) through the Kemptville Pop-Up Shop Program. It is a one-stop pediatric therapy therapy centre for children and their families to access needed speech and physical therapy services locally.

Richardson Hair Design and 2bu Artistry – Grand Openings & Shared Open House

201 Prescott Street – 1pm (Ribbon Cutting); Open House 5:00pm – 8:00pm
Stephanie Richardson (Richardson Hair Design) and Megan J. Roberts (2bu Artistry) took over the space previously occupied by the Array Hair Studio to service their growing clientele with hair and make-up services and products.

Posh Plum Decor – Grand Opening & Open House
207 Prescott Street – 1:30 pm (Ribbon Cutting); followed by an Open House until 7pm

Posh Plum Decor is located in the historic former Carnegie Library, lovingly restored by the owner, Ann Shafer. It carries a wide variety of unique gift items, shabby chic home decor and displays original works by talented local artists.

Come celebrate the ongoing revival of Kemptville’s downtown on December 1st!



John Barclay

Dear Friends of Downtown:

It’s been a very busy two or three weeks downtown; two businesses held Open Houses (the Dill Flower Studio and Hustle and Heart) and another held a Grand Re-Opening (Bodhi Tree Yoga); the Kemptville Pop-Up Shop Steering Committee secured three more locations and approved two applications; the Kreepy Kemptville Trick or Treat Trail and the Ghost Walk events were organized for this weekend along with many others … and then Woody Armour declared Old Town Kemptville “dead” in the North Grenville Times. LOL!

The last time we published, we provided some detail on the BIA’s most important budget request to Council. The request was to sharply IMPROVE PARKING in the Downtown core. To date we’ve met with all four Councilors to discuss this and we’re hopeful that we’ll see some progress in 2018 on parking downtown. Here are the five other requests we brought forward on September 25th:

  • Completion of the Waterfront Trail from Barnes Street to Prescott Street along the waterfront instead of along Clothier Street East
  • Increasing the Rideau-Sanders-Prescott CIP budget from $50K to $70K and adding a Downtown Residential Intensification Program
  • Providing support for Year Two of the Kemptville Pop-Up Shop Program
  • Erecting a Community Information Kiosk in the Downtown core
  • Improving Walkability Downtown through repairing existing sidewalks and adding more

Now that the Economic Development Department’s Internal Program is complete we look forward to working with the Municipality on our shared goal of creating and maintaining Downtown Kemptville as a vibrant social centre and a sustainable business hub.

Downtown Kemptville, despite rumours to the contrary, is alive and well !

Cheers
John

John Barclay, Executive Director
Old Town Kemptville Business Improvement Area
exec.director.bia@gmail.com
613.322.8132

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John Barclay

Dear Friends of Downtown:

Recently a good friend posted the following question in frustration on Facebook. It got quite a lot of sympathetic responses concerning the pedestrian challenges downtown:

” What does it take to get a crosswalk at Clothier and Prescott Street???!!!! “

 

It took a number of years to get three-way stop signs at that corner but here’s some good news from the Municipality:

“The Municipality of North Grenville is issuing a request for quotation for the restoration and installation of decorative crosswalks in the downtown core of Kemptville. Five of the crosswalks were initially created using a thermal overlay product and have worn to non-existence in the vehicle travelled portion of the crosswalk. … Three new crosswalks are to be installed.  All crosswalks are to have the same aesthetic culture of the classic offset red prick pattern with a standard white border. Material to be used for the crosswalks must be an extremely durable traffic-tough product capable of handling all climate types, be high skid/slop resistant and create a pedestrian and wheelchair friendly surface. … Sealed tenders will be received by 2:00 p.m. on August 4, 2017.”


The installation of these crosswalks are part of this year’s (2017) budget. I’ll update you on the date of their installation.

Cheers
John
John Barclay, Executive Director
Old Town Kemptville Business Improvement Area
exec.director.bia@gmail.com
613.322.8132


 

Donations to the new gazebo in Maplewood Park in Oxford Mills continue. On Friday, July 21, Ben Sauve Heating & Air Conditioning donated $500 to the gazebo costs. Left to right, front row are: Ben Sauve and Marc Nadeau. Second row: Bryanna Mitchell-Massey, Isabelle Nadeau, Hailey Mitchell-Massey, Lilly Johnston. Third row: Darlene McMartin, Marguerite Boyer, John Barclay, Jennifer
Charles and Lyn Hunt.

Contributions continue to pour in for the Oxford Mills gazebo in Maplewood Park. 

  Ben Sauve, Sauve Heating & Air Conditioning is just the latest North Grenville resident and business to help contribute to the gazebo campaign.
Over the past two years, the Oxford Mills Cpommunity Associatio, (OMCA) has been trying to come up with a plan to build a new gazebo in Maplewood Park in Oxford Mills. 

  Their original gazebo, stood for years in the picturest and quiete park, quickly becooming the centerpiece for enjoying the best the rural village had to offer. 
  When the gazebo had to be taken down a new one was immediatly proposed. The price tag for a new gazebo was pegged at $10,000, and the Oxford Mills Community Association felt the the greater North Grenville community would want to help them pay for it.
  Two years into the project the Association realized they were on their own.
  A crowdfunding campaign was started up and continues to invite generous reaisdents to donate to the cause. In the meantime, the gazebo was installed two days before Canada Day by Timely Touchups of Oxford Station. Lockwood Brothers Construction and Cruickshank Construction donated the excavation and crushed stone base for the gazebo.
OMCA media spokesperson John Barclay said, “The OMCA’s fundraising efforts to cover 100 per cent of the construction and installation of the Gazebo continues. A recent crowdfunding campaign, brought them within 85 per cent of their goal of raising approximately $10,000.”
To donate to the Oxford Mills gazebo project go to:
 Https://igg.me/at/Gazebo-in-Oxford-Mills


Good ol’ Kemptville hospitality

John Barclay

Dear Friends of Downtown:

Summer has finally arrived this week, a bit late but we’ll take it.

The Kemptville Live Music Festival is also under way and merchants downtown are ready to handle the influx of visitors that seem to grow in number each year. Here’s hoping that more and more of them will leave the grounds of Kemptville College to explore everything we have to offer downtown. Over the next few days please extend a helping hand and offer directions to anyone who looks a bit lost. Here is a short video you can share with some tips that should make their attendance easier. 

The BIA recently issued a handy dandy flyer with a complete listing of businesses on one side and an easy-to-read map on the other. Visitors and residents can find them at most stores in the Rideau-Sanders Triangle and Old Town (contact me if you run out). The flyer will be updated in the Fall as many of the new businesses that have opened recently didn’t make it in.

We have a Winner!
Congratulations to Fran and Bob Pinard of Ottawa who won the BIA’s Draw for TWO Kemptville Live VIP Weekend tickets! (Value: $350). Fran Pinard and her husband Tom live in Ottawa but love to do their shopping “just down the road” in Kemptville where “people are friendlier”. One of their favourite stops is Grahame’s Bakery on Clothier Street East (that’s co-owner Rick Grahame in the middle).

 

 

Next weeks issue will contain a link to a Survey regarding Downtown Parking & Pedestrian Issues. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to fill it out. It’s important for us to hear your thoughts on these issues. Until then keep your eyes open and show some good ol’ patience and respect for others, whether they’re walking or driving downtown.

Cheers
John

John Barclay, Executive Director
Old Town Kemptville Business Improvement Area
exec.director.bia@gmail.com
613.322.8132

 


John Barclay

Dear Friends of Downtown:

Question: Why would you want to spend your quickly evaporating spare time working at something for free, to benefit people you barely know?

Answer: People in North Grenville have figured out that when you give, you get so much more back and so, volunteering has become part of the culture here. To people who are looking for a place to start a family and/or retire It is part of the attraction of living here. I’m confident that it’s also a feature that keeps people from leaving.

In the good ol’ days, most small towns and hamlets in the area all had a mill and a cheese factory. It was the community working cooperatively that made things happen and by pooling resources, got things done. You and your neighbours set the agenda and drove economic development with very little government assistance.

We’re primarily a rural community; people pride themselves on their self-reliance and take responsibility for their own well-being and quality of life. Members of our community possess not only real capital (assets, investments, and cash) but social capital as well (a willingness to give back and volunteer, knowledge, experience). Together we are more capable and resourceful than you think.

Volunteering is never for you; it’s for others. It’s about community and the connections that get fostered through contributing. When you give of your time, you get a lot back. In this week’s issue you’ll find information on plenty of volunteer-driven events happening this month. There are many other volunteer opportunities in Kemptville this summer; many ways to contribute – get involved.

Cheers
John

John Barclay, Executive Director
Old Town Kemptville Business Improvement Area
exec.director.bia@gmail.com
613.322.8132


We are the ones we’re waiting for

John Barclay

Dear Friends of Downtown:

On June 28th I attended the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affair’s Teeny Tiny Summit in Merrickville. The summit was an opportunity to learn and discuss “scale appropriate” economic development. For all our much vaunted urban-style amenities, Kemptville is still very much a small rural town with all the typical development problems of other teeny tiny places, so I was very interested in attending.
The keynote speaker was Peter Kenyon, a self described “social capitalist and community enthusiast” from Western Australia. A dynamic speaker, he shared a number of amazing examples of how very small rural communities had transformed themselves from the inside out relying on positive thinking community members rather than government-driven programs or philanthropy,   The range of ideas and projects initiated by ordinary citizens to turn their community’s economy around was imaginative and truly inspiring. Not that these ideas can be replicated successfully in other communities, it was noted.
 Old Town Kemptville is not Merrickville – we have our own unique features to leverage.
Each of the communities profiled found their own unique solution to a declining economy, job loss and stagnation. The “take away” from Kenyon’s presentation was the power of positive thinking and the confirmation that, “People who care are a community’s greatest asset” (Paul Born)
I was reminded of what our community has accomplished by the vision and dedication of ordinary people; of what the Friends of the Library and the Friends of Ferguson Forest have accomplished; of what the various faith communities in North Grenville have built and I started to wonder what we might accomplish in Kemptville by more Friends of Downtown. Could it be, as Peter Kenyon suggested  that “we are the ones we’re waiting for” to create a vibrant, thriving and resilient economy downtown?
The community of Oxford Mills got tired of waiting for the Municipality to replace the gazebo in Maplewood Park and built it themselves. Take a look at what they accomplished by having a vision and a belief in themselves. Great things can happen when people get together. When they share their talents, time and treasure in the service of an idea that benefits everyone.
Does North Grenville want a walkable, bicycle friendly downtown with adequate parking; an outdoor rink and splash pad in Riverside Park; a trail running along the South Branch connecting Ferguson Forest to the downtown parks (Curry, Rotary, Post Office and Riverside). Does it want to preserve and celebrate it’s unique history and it’s built heritage? Do we want to retain and increase the number of unique businesses downtown?
This is a call to action to those that share a positive outlook about the future of Downtown Kemptville – to find others who share their vision of the type of downtown they want – to start the discussion about how bring it about. The BIA has a Facebook page you can post to – find it here and post your comments and questions. Encourage your friends and neighbours to subscribe to this weekly newsletter here. Both will provide information about issues and events downtown. There are some things money can’t buy and one of them is community. Community has to be built and it’s built by participation. Let’s get going!


Cheers
John


John Barclay, Executive Director
Old Town Kemptville Business Improvement Area
exec.director.bia@gmail.com
613.322.8132


John Barclay

Dear Friends, Family and Neighbours

It’s very rare that I send out one of these fundraising letters, so I hope
you’ll indulge me a bit of your time.

Two years ago the gazebo in Maplewood Park was torn down due to safety
concerns. It was an iconic focal point in the park and used for a variety
of events. The Oxford Mills Community Association is committed to covering
all the costs of replacing the gazebo in Maplewood Park, which are
substantial as the structure must meet stringent municipal standards.

The total project price tag is $10,000, of which we’ve already raised over
70% through fundraising events and in-kind donations from local
construction companies. Our crowdfunding campaign ends this Thursday (July
6th) at midnight

I’ve just made another small donation online using my Debit card. It’s
easy, just two clicks. I hope you’ll consider doing the same. Go to:
Https://igg.me/at/Gazebo-in-Oxford-Mills

Your donation and those of other community-minded individuals will go a
long way to help maintain Maplewood Park as a local landmark and community
resource for the hamlet of Oxford Mills and the Municipality of North
Grenville.

Thanks
John


 

The 150th Canada Day Parade Red and White Downtown Dear Friends of Downtown: It’s not the 150th one but it’s the Big One! We’re 150 years young and we’ll be lined up along Clothier and Prescott Streets at 4 p.m. to celebrate and watch the parade. This year it will depart from Campus Drive at the Kemptville Campus and make its way up Prescott  Street, then left on Clothier Street West and disperse in the Holy Cross Church parking lot .
There will be bands and dignitaries as well as awards recognizing honourees and prize winning floats.  I’m hoping businesses along the route will get out the red and white bunting and flags to celebrate; O’Heaphy’s already has their banner up. While you’re lined up along the route, take a moment to get re­acquainted with the great restaurants and shops we have downtown. There are also some new ones opening and some existing ones expanding and refreshing their offerings. Before and after the parade passes by take a look at the “Windows on the Past” displays, a series of graphic illustrations by Don Munz hanging in many storefronts. This is a project of the Heritage Advisory Committee and the North Grenville Historical Society with encouragement and support from the BIA.
Find the best vantage spot early, there’ll be lots to see and enjoy downtown on July 1st!

Cheers John John Barclay, Executive Director Old Town Kemptville Business Improvement Area exec.director.bia@gmail.com 613.322.8132