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  • Applications Now Being Accepted for 2020 HOC Actvity Grant

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    Applications now being accepted for 2020 Heart of Our City Activity Grant

    The Heart of Our City Committee has completed a review of the Activity Grant to ensure the program is meeting its intended purpose as well as the needs of the organizations who look to utilize the grant to bring exciting events to the Downtown every year. The committee is excited to announce that following consultation with past applicants and an in-depth review, there are few changes to the program proposed for 2020 and that applications are new being accepted.

    The purpose of the Activity Grant is to provide funds to help Lethbridge organizations host festivals and events that create an exciting and vibrant downtown and attract audiences to the city centre.

    Events and festivals located in the Downtown core or in the Civic Common are eligible for up to $10,000 annually provided they are not already receiving funding from other City of Lethbridge sources. Grants greater than $1,000 are conditional on the applicant organization providing 50-per-cent matching funds. Applicants must be a not-for-profit or apply under the auspices of an affiliate or sponsoring organization with not-for-profit status.

    Heart of Our City Activity Grant applications will be accepted until November 29, 2019. Information and application forms are available at: www.lethbridge.ca/HOCactivitygrant.

    Applications will be evaluated by a grant review committee based on how the event or festival contributes to an exciting, animated, and vibrant experience in Downtown. Successful applicants will be notified of a grant decision as soon as possible after December November 11, 2019.

    Media Contacts:

    Andrew Malcolm

    Urban Revitalization Manager

    403-320-3926

    andrew.malcolm@lethbridge.ca


  • Recently Approved Adaptive Reuse Incentive Program Ready to Launch

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    Recently Approved Adaptive Reuse Incentive Program Ready to Launch

    Applications for the City’s new Adaptive Reuse Incentive Program will be accepted starting August 26. The program provides a matching grant to those wishing to renovate or adapt existing buildings that have historically significance, are deteriorating or that need improvement to meet current fire and building codes.

    The Adaptive Reuse Incentive Program aims to support business and property owners in addressing the financial barriers that come with aging buildings. By giving new life to existing buildings, there is significant economic, social and environmental benefits for the community. This program will help add function, safety and vibrancy to the spaces that make Lethbridge unique.

    The Adaptive Reuse Incentive Program can provide up to $100,000 in matching funding per property and applies to buildings in the downtown, warehouse district and 13 St. N.

    City Council approved $900,000 in funding for the Adaptive Reuse Incentive Program as part of the 2019-2022 Operating Budget. This will be spread out over the 4-year period.

    Applications will be accepted throughout the year. Should there be inadequate annual funding to meet demand, applications will be held in queue and processed in chronological order as funding becomes available.

    Details on the program including eligibility and funding can be found website at: www.lethbridge.ca/downtownincentives.





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  • Options Exist For Downtown Business Beautification

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    Never underestimate the power of a well-designed storefront. Aside from word-of-mouth recommendations shoppers typically only have curb appeal to help them determine whether or not a business is worth visiting. And a customer’s first impression of a business’s brand can often be the difference between someone coming in or walking past. When competing with the big-box retailers, chains, and franchises that have very identifiable branding, smaller local businesses must turn on the charm by creating storefronts that are welcoming to visitors and quickly tell them what goods and services are provided.

    Despite the fact that storefront beautification projects that improve curb appeal can count for 70 per cent of new visitor sales at restaurants, retail shops, and hotels and lodging establishments, it is often difficult for small businesses to front the capital costs to pull off such improvements.

    Cue Community Futures, a community driven, non-profit organization that is actively engaged in providing a wide range of small business services and business management tools for people who want to start, expand, or improve a business.

    In 2011, Community Futures partnered with the Downtown Lethbridge Business Revitalization Zone and Heart of Our City to provide the Business Improvement Loan program to provide financial assistance to businesses in the downtown. The program provides interest-free loans up to a maximum of $15,000 for downtown businesses to improve the appearance of their business, with the interest being paid by the Heart of Our City.

    Eligible improvements include signage, exterior finishes, repair or replacement of storefront windows and doors, interior and exterior lighting, window display areas, new architectural features, addition of patio areas and landscaping, flooring and much more!

    Since 2011, 87 loans have been issued which have directly resulted in maintaining and creating more than 320 full- and part-time jobs as well as being leveraged to facilitate more than $1.6 million in improvements in our Downtown.

    “This program is a win-win, as small business and entrepreneurs receive valuable assistance while also contributing to making our downtown more beautiful and sustainable” says Darlene Sinclair, General Manager of Community Futures Lethbridge Region.

    More information on the Business Improvement Loan program and other small business services and business management tools that Community Futures provides can be found at www.lethbridgeregion.albertacf.com or by contacting 403-320-6044.

    I challenge every resident to help Our Downtown to be the best it can be. With our partners on the Downtown BRZ and the Heart of Our City Committee, we encourage you to contribute to the content of this column and the BRZ’s #OurDowntown video series with your comments, questions, ideas, and suggestions by engaging with us on Twitter (@DowntownLeth) using the hashtag #ourdowntown and at www.getinvolvedlethbridge.ca/ourdowntown.

    *This column was published in the Lethbridge Herald on November 19, 2018

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