Downtown Revitalization

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Downtown Revitalization Strategic Action Plan

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Downtown Revitalization. Strategic Action Plan. COLLABORATION!. CIP Boundary. Background. Background. Developing the Plan. Vision Statement - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Downtown Revitalization Strategic Action Plan

Downtown Revitalization

Strategic Action Plan

1COLLABORATION!We know that rural Ontario is changing; its becoming more complex and diverse, and faces unique challenges. These include an aging workforce, skills shortages and out-migration of youth. We also know that to compete in the 21st century knowledge-based economy, we must do things differently. We must become more innovative and flexible.

How do we do this? Through commitment to communication and most importantly Collaboration!Collaboration is the ability to work together toward a common vision; The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives; and It is the fuel that allows us to attain success.


CIP Boundary

This is a reminder that the area we are discussing is the CIP boundary indicated in the black outline here.3BackgroundStage 1 Organizing and ScopingStage 2 Market Analysis; Collecting & Assessing; Physical AssessmentsOrganizational Development - Sep 2011 Jan 2012

Self-Assessment(s) - Nov 2011 Jan 2012

Visioning Sessions and Preliminary Work Plan - Jan 2012 March 2012Building & Business Inventory - Jan 2013 March 2013

Commercial & Consumer Structure Analysis - December 2012

Business Owner Survey -March 2012 May 2012; Sept 2012 Jan 2013

Customer Origin Survey & Trade Area Analysis - June 2012 Dec 2012; March 2013

Resident Survey - May 2012 Sept 2012

Community Design / SK & Associates - Oct 2012 April 2013

CIP Development / Planscape - Feb 2012 May 2013The project unfolds in four stages:

Stage 1 as you can see here was the Organizing and scoping stage which included the formation of the Management Committee, the public launch, and public visioning sessions. These aspects of public participation were important from the outset of this project to create a positive atmosphere surrounding the downtown and to develop project buy-in in order to ensure that any ideas or data collected would be representative of the appropriate stakeholders.

Necessary to Stage 2 (which included Market Analysis, Collecting & Assessing, and Physical Assessment), was commitment from downtown business owners as well as residents, without their cooperation our research would not have been nearly as successful as it was. This Stage involved an immense amount data collection, input, and analysis including:The Building & Business InventoryCommercial & Consumer Structure Analysis Business Owner SurveyCustomer Origin Survey & Trade Area Analysis and the Resident Survey

As well as the development of two very important components of the project from which the community of Gravenhurst will continue to benefit;

The Faade and Streetscape Design guidelines which were developed by Stempski Kelly and Associates through several public workshops to ensure that the outcomes were specific to community needs, and were approved April 16th 2013. AndThe Community Improvement Plan which is a municipal planning tool aimed at facilitating community change and partnership and stimulating improvements through assistance programs, and was developed by Planscape and approved May 14th 2013.

The Data collected has informed the formulation of the CIP and Faade Design Guidelines as well as the Strategic Action Plan; and will continue to inform future decisions.

4BackgroundStage 3 Planning & PrioritizingMay 2013 September 2013

Market Analysis Data ReviewBusiness Development OpportunitiesMarket Position StatementStrategic Plan and Action Plan(s) Development

As you can see here Stage 3 is the Planning & Prioritizing stage. This stage took a huge amount of commitment from the Downtown Revitalization Management Committee as extracting valuable insights from the data collected was essential to creating an actionable Strategic Plan; and we began meeting as often as weekly in order to achieve this.

Activities undertaken during this time included:Market Analysis Data ReviewExploration of Business Development OpportunitiesThe creation of three unique Market Position Statements to target Gravenhursts diverse marketsAnd the creation and intense review of the Strategic Action Plan.5Developing the PlanVision Statement

A town built on community pride that offers an economically sustainable downtown with diverse in-door and out-door experiences and an energy that is accepting and inviting, and embraces our cultural heritage and geographic uniqueness.

So as I said, the Downtown Revitalization Strategic Action Plan could not have been undertaken without the commitment of the Downtown Revitalization Management Committee. The function of the Management Committee is to work with the Project Coordinator on pertinent activities; create a climate of confidence, cooperation and mutual assistance among the communitys key players or partners; define the major areas to which the Downtown Revitalization approach will be applied; explore funding options to ensure that the strategies may be fully implemented; and work in conjunction with the activities and decisions established by the project.

It is with the commitment to collaboration and tireless efforts of the Management Committee with representatives including:

Mayor Donaldson & Councillor Bratty; BIA representatives Judy Terry & Annette Gillan; Chamber of Commerce representative Danielle Millar; Community members Robbie Irvine & Joanne Twist. Along Ministry staff Judy Coward & Marilyn Bidgood; and Townstaff for support

That the Plan we are submitting today has come to fruition.

6Developing the Plan1.Goal: The Town of Gravenhurst will continue to take ownership of the Downtown Revitalization project and better utilize department coordination.2.Goal: Improve communications between all community stakeholders.3.Goal: Improve the visual appearance and functionality of the public realm while maintaining and enhancing its historic character and creating a livable barrier-free and attractive community for residents and visitors to enjoy.4.Goal: Improve the visual appearance of privately owned properties through a commitment to implementing the Community Improvement Plan and Faade Design Guidelines.5.Goal: Support and promote existing cultural assets through the creation of experiential tourism packages.6.Goal: Address and improve the current Downtown business mix by refining and promoting identified business opportunities.7.Goal: Increase the volume of consumers in downtown Gravenhurst in order to improve business viability.8.Goal: Leverage learning opportunities for businesses to support business retention and expansion.With that in mind, the Downtown Revitalization Management Committee formulated the following eight goals necessary to ensure the vision becomes reality:

These goals Highlight Project OwnershipCommunicationThe appearance of both the Private and Public realm Cultural AssetsBusiness MixDowntown Volumeand Learning opportunities

Over the past several months the Management Committee has gone through each goal in painstaking detail to ensure that each goal has one or several accompanying tasks, each task with a party responsible for ensuring it comes to fruition, along with a timeline to do so and evaluation measures to ensure tasks are achieving their desired outcomes.

7Developing the Plan

For long-term success, the process needs a balanced approach which encourages incremental and simultaneous work in all four pillars and coordinated action among stakeholders.

When it comes to revitalizing a downtown, people often think of structural and physical improvements. However, there is more to the picture than how the downtown appears. With this in mind the Downtown Revitalization Management Committee with the support of the Ontario ministry of Agriculture and Foods & the ministry of Rural Affairs followed an integrated "four point approach" to the development of the Downtown Revitalization Strategic Action Plan covering:Economic developmentLeadership and managementMarketing and promotionsPhysical improvements

8The Plan9Strategic Action PlanGoal 11. Goal: The Town of Gravenhurst will continue to take ownership of the Downtown Revitalization project and better utilize department coordination.

Challenge: Continuity and co-ordination of Gravenhurst Downtown Revitalization.

Identified as the first and most important goal was that The Town of Gravenhurst will continue to take ownership of the Downtown Revitalization project and better utilize department coordination.

This goal was formulated to address the challenge of continuity and coordination of the project which was identified through the data, including but not limited to the Business Owner Survey which found that 40% of business owners surveyed have a more negative attitude toward doing business in the community; and Leadership (including lack of teamwork) was the aspect perceived to have had the most significant negative impact on Economic Development in Gravenhurst in the past five years. Additionally Only two respondents reported willingness to provide leads for a business attraction strategy, one business owner who said no cited the Towns inability to react quickly enough.

Going forward it will be crucial to the success of the project to combat these feelings, NOT by dwelling on past misfortunes but by presenting a united and positive front to the business community in Gravenhurst. This could be initiated through Council showing support of the project by approving the Downtown Revitalization Strategic Action Plan which highlights the importance Economic Development in Gravenhurst as well as other challenges the community faces; and carried out through the continued support and collaboration of the Town and various stakeholders to ensure the Plan is put into action and does not remain idle. 10Strategic Action PlanGoal 1Economic Development1.1 Activity: Utilize available staff and funding resources to research, attract and retain businesses and business opportunities.

Leadership & Management1.2Activity: Incorporate the Strategic Plan for Downtown Revitalization into the Towns Economic Development Strategic Plan and ensure that it compliments other related and future plans.

1.3Activity: Maintain the Gravenhurst Downtown Revitalization Management Committee the REDD Committee, - to provide leadership, direction, coordination, and vision to the implementation of the Gravenhursts Downtown Revitalization Strategic Plan, and the overall revitalization of Downtown Gravenhurst.

11Strategic Action PlanGoal 11.4Activity: Secure base funding to establish a 2 year contract Downtown Revitalization Coordinator position within the Economic Development and Communications department.

1.5Activity: Establish partnerships with all relevant community stakeholders.

1.6Activity: Ensure that the Community Improvement Plan, the Faade Design Guidelines, the Downtown Revitalization initiatives and projects, and the progress and accomplishments associated with the Downtown Revitalization project are communicated to all Town and District staff.

12Strategic Action PlanGoal 1Marketing & Promotions1.7Activity: Develop joint marketing opportunities with community stakeholders.

1.8Activity: Improve/Expand on networking opportunities and informal sessions amongst merchants, property owners, and stakeholders to support downtown synergy.

Physical Improvements 1.9Activity: Create and deliver a communications campaign to promote the financial opportunities available through the Community Improvement Plan and Streetscape and Faade Design Guidelines. 13Strategic Action PlanGoal 22. Goal: Improve communications between all community stakeholders.

Challenge: Lack of communication within the community appears to have created disconnect.

In conjunction with Leadership, Improved Communications between all community stakeholders will be essential to the success of the project as initiatives of such detail cannot succeed without proper communication and collaboration.

This goal was formulated to address the challenge of a disconnect created in the community through lack of communication. This goal addresses not only the perceived lack of communication from and between Town staff and officials but also the disconnect between business owners who believed that their service is their main competitive advantage and consumers & business owners alike who noted that Attitudes were one of the greatest challenges to the community as a place to do business, this included poor customer service, in-ability to work together, and non-business friendly reputation.

14Strategic Action PlanGoal 2Economic Development2.1 Activity: Communicate Towns opportunities to potential entrepreneurs and investors with input and support from community stakeholders.

Leadership & Management2.2 Activity: Ensure all communications for Downtown Revitalization are in line with the Economic Development Communications Strategy.

15Strategic Action PlanGoal 2Marketing & Promotions2.3 Activity: Develop marketing strategies that target identified consumer markets addressing their respective needs and interests.

2.4 Activity: Create and execute a comprehensive communications program which utilizes the Towns web presence as well as traditional media to promote the Downtown Revitalization project.

2.5 Activity: Communicate and celebrate all project initiatives and successes to ensure long-term engagement and commitment.16Strategic Action PlanGoal 33. Goal: Improve the visual appearance and functionality of the public realm while maintaining and enhancing its historic character and creating a livable barrier-free and attractive community for residents and visitors to enjoy.

Challenge: Downtown Gravenhurst would benefit from improvements to its visual appearance and connectivity.

Goal 3 addresses the public realm in Gravenhurst as we know through extensive research that a Downtowns visual appearance can have a significant impact on investors attraction to the community.

In terms of the data, Accessibility and Visual identity of the Town were reported only as fair by the majority of Business Owner respondents, and Streetscape and Faade improvements were listed within the top three on the Residents Survey for items which would encourage respondents to shop locally, and Town appearance was also mentioned as the number one item to be addressed by the data working group

17Strategic Action PlanGoal 3Leadership & Management3.1 Activity: Adopt and implement policy, budget, and plans to address identified public realm elements identified in the Streetscape Design Guidelines.

Marketing & Promotions3.2 Activity: Develop an outreach campaign to enhance community pride and ownership in downtown public space.

3.3 Activity: Increase community engagement and investment to address the visual aesthetics of features such as vacant lots, storefronts, and public gathering places.

Physical Improvements 3.4 Activity: Collaborate with Gravenhursts Heritage Committee to identify locations of historical significance and ensure they are preserved and/or repurposed.18Strategic Action PlanGoal 44. Goal: Improve the visual appearance of privately owned properties through a commitment to implementing the Community Improvement Plan and Faade Design Guidelines

Challenge: Many privately owned properties are in need of faade improvements and/or structural rehabilitation.

Goal 4 focuses on visual appearance with emphasis on Privately owned properties.

This goal must also work closely in conjunction with the communications goal as it will be essential to its success to build confidence in revitalization efforts with building owners in order to address the challenge of improving the towns appearance.

Repair or removal of eyesore buildings was noted by business owners as the most important priority for improving the local business climate. They also noted that development witnessed was the most significant positive change in Gravenhurst within the last five years, while empty lots and buildings were the most significant negative change.19Strategic Action PlanGoal 4Economic Development4.1 Activity: Attract new developers and business owners to inject new ideas and uses into Downtown Gravenhurst.

Leadership & Management4.2 Activity: Help to ensure the success of the Faade Improvement Program component of the project by maintaining Councils commitment to the funding of the Streetscape & Faade Design Guidelines and Community Improvement Plan incentives.

Physical Improvements 4.3 Activity: Encourage business and building owners to rehabilitate, repurpose, and/or develop their vacant land/buildings based on the Faade Design Guidelines.20Strategic Action PlanGoal 55. Goal: Support and promote existing cultural assets through the creation of experiential tourism packages.

Challenge: Cultural assets and amenities could be leveraged better through business collaboration to make downtown Gravenhurst a more compelling destination.Goal 5 focuses on experiential tourism. We all know that Tourism is an important part of Gravenhursts Economy, and The Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport tells us that Tourism is an essential part of Ontarios economy and its regional economies with tourism generating receipts of $23.1 billion and supporting 308,000 jobs in 2011.

The Majority of respondents to the Business Owner Survey noted that events and festivals do not currently effect their sales. The Management Committee agreed that the best avenue to take to combat this issues was not to create new events but to look at how we can take better advantage of our cultural assets.

The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport also tell us that tourists are no longer happy to visit destinations simply to take pictures and return home, they want to immerse themselves in local culture and have an experience; thus Experiential tourism is in the NOW; its what visitors are looking for when they explore destination options and make informed decisions. The objective of goal 5 is to link local businesses and cultural assets to not only increase the number of experience offerings, but to improve the quality of offerings and ensure consistency across the Gravenhurst community.

21Strategic Action PlanGoal 5Economic Development5.1 Activity: Create cultural experience packages in conjunction with Tourism partner organizations and guided by the Municipal Cultural Plan that partners downtown businesses with each other and those outside the community.

Leadership & Management5.2 Activity: Encourage businesses to elevate their business standards in order to participate in experiential tourism packages by outlining best practices for participation in said packages.

22Strategic Action PlanGoal 5Marketing & Promotions5.3 Activity: Develop marketing strategies to promote the financial and other benefits of experiential tourism to both businesses and tourists in Gravenhurst with a focus on Downtown.

Physical Improvements 5.4 Activity: Building on the Streetscape and Faade Design Guidelines approved by council seek to improve the connectivity of cultural assets within the community.23Strategic Action PlanGoal 66. Goal: Address and improve the current Downtown business mix by refining and promoting business opportunities identified.

Challenge: There appears to be disconnect between what consumers report wanting and what businesses are currently offering.

Goal 6 Is focused on addressing the selection of businesses in Downtown Gravenhurst by refining and promoting business opportunities identified in the vast amounts of data collected.

The majority of respondents to the Resident Survey reported that a better business mix would be the number one thing that would encourage them to shop locally; and The majority of respondents to the Business Owner survey noted that the biggest challenge currently and most significant change which they would like to see in the community in the next five years would be a better business mix. Both the consumer and the businesses are in agreement that business mix needs to be addressed, this agreement should provide a strong foundation for collaboration and change.

24Strategic Action PlanGoal 6Economic Development6.1Activity: Refine business opportunities identified in the background research to the Strategic Plan; focusing on opportunities for business refinement vs. opportunities for new business.

6.2Activity: Recruit new development and business in order to increase the range of businesses and reduce the commercial vacancy rate.

6.3Activity: Assist new and existing businesses in finding/leveraging existing financing opportunities.25Strategic Action PlanGoal 6Leadership & Management6.4Activity: Develop strategies to help existing businesses and promote them as refocusing opportunities.

6.5Activity: Attract unique retail and service businesses to locate in the Downtown to encourage an increase in the number of consumers patronizing the downtown.

Physical Improvements 6.6Activity: When the Towns Official Plan is formally reviewed, provide input/recommendations for the establishment of protocols and priorities for downtown development, focusing on mixed use development and public gathering places.26Strategic Action PlanGoal 77. Goal: Increase the volume of consumers in Downtown Gravenhurst in order to improve business viability.

Challenge: Gravenhurst lacks consistent consumer volume to address current challenges such as: price points, business mix, and public transportation.

Goal 7 is to Increase the volume of people in Downtown Gravenhurst. There were several items identified in the data that are either needed or wanted by the community such as public transportation, however we know that we do not currently have the volume to make such an undertaking viable. Therefore Goal 7 intends to analyze and address the challenge of lack of consistent consumer volume in order to support the community needs.

We also know that 84% of Business Owners report experiencing high and low seasons; The Downtown Revitalization model tells us that is essential to address this type of challenge to support an economy which is sustainable year round, this could include a more sustainable mix of products and services which are need by the local resident so that the community is less dependent on tourist dollars.

27Strategic Action PlanGoal 7Economic Development7.1 Activity: Conduct a comprehensive retail market analysis to investigate current research findings such as: price points, business mix, and public transportation.

7.2 Activity: Increase activity in downtown Gravenhurst by fostering activities that attract a broader range of consumers.

Physical Improvements 7.3 Activity: Encourage residential intensification by attracting developers who will introduce various forms of housing to meet market needs. 28Strategic Action PlanGoal 88. Goal: Leverage learning opportunities for businesses to support business retention and expansion.

Challenge: Business owners have identified learning opportunities as important to their future success.Goal 8 focuses on concrete learning opportunities which can be used to help businesses in Gravenhurst thrive, this is important because opportunities for learning were identified by Business Owners as one of the most important ways in which their local government, community or organizations could help support them.

Business and succession planning was noted both by respondents to the Business Owner survey and found to be important as only 52% of respondents noted having a business plan;

Joint Marketing and Advertising as respondents reported the desire to work collaboratively on those types of endeavors;Web presence as less than half of respondents noted having a website and we are aware that this could be a very effective tool to reach a broader market of consumers;And several others, which if conducted collaboratively could be very effective and be a smaller burden to bear for each individual business owner.

It is also important for the town to leverage learning opportunities through the use of the Towns web presence, not only to deliver a service which is needed and has been requested by the local business owners but it allows us to keep constant contact with our community and give a greater voice to revitalization efforts.

29Strategic Action PlanGoal 8Economic Development8.1Activity: Work with community stakeholders to leverage learning opportunities that help local businesses with the following:Business Planning & Succession PlanningJoint Marketing & AdvertisingWeb presence, Social MediaProduct planning and Market DevelopmentCustomer Service Standards of operation (in general and in relation to tourism packages).Product merchandising, window displays, and tradeshow displaysEncourage the adoption of hours of operation to meet consumer demand.Explore and explain financial opportunities.

Marketing & Promotions8.2Activity: Utilize the Towns web presence (including web portal and social media) as vehicle for formal webinar learning opportunities as well as informal business idea sharing.30Going ForwardStage 4Implementing & MonitoringOctober 2013 December 2015

Develop Work PlanWork Plan ImplementationMonitoringEvaluation

And finally, Stage 4 which we are coming up on, is the Implementation and monitoring stage. Our Partners at the Ontario ministry of Agriculture and Foods & the ministry of Rural Affairs suggest that this stage requires a two year commitment to see full results of your efforts.

In stage 4 the intention is to use the Strategic Action Plan to implement the tasks constructed by the Management Committee by creating an effective work plan and establishing a process for ongoing monitoring to ensure that the plan remains dynamic and does not sit idle. This includes the development of a work plan to guide activities outlined in the Strategic Action Plan with set timelines; Using benchmarks to continually monitor progress of revitalization efforts; and ongoing Evaluations to determine what went well and should be celebrated, and what can be improved along the way.

31Going ForwardPublic Unveiling! October 23rd

RED Funding ApplicationApplication to be Drafted October 2013Application to be ready for approval by Council November 19thApplication Due November 1st December 31st 2013

Continue to Collaborate!If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.

Henry Ford

A public meeting has been set for October 23rd which will be used to celebrate Downtown Revitalization and unveil the Strategic Action Plan.

Immediate next steps for the project aside from fine tuning the extensive implementation plan which includes the activities and evaluation steps developed in the Strategic Action Plan; will be to apply for RED funding through the Ministry of Rural Affairs.

The newly approved RED program provides up to $4.5 million dollars in funding per year for up to three years to help rural communities remove barriers to community development and promote economic growth to support sustainable rural economies and regions, while developing the capacity, tools and flexibility they need to become stronger, more prosperous communities. (This funding is down from $10 million dollars which means that applications will have to be competitive, in addition any slippages in the project will not be allowed this time around).

The project has Two streams:Planning Implementations Strengthening rural and regional economic competitiveness to support the implementation of projects that have been identified through some form of evidence-based planning process and to contribute to economic competitiveness. Councils approval of and commitment to the Community Improvement Plan; the extensive analysis conducted & the Strategic Action Plan gives our application strength.

A group has already been formulated to deliver an application, which must be submitted between November 1st and December 31st to be considered this round.

We're in this together, and if we remain united, that will be the key to our success.


Thank you for your time today.