Fort St. James will be celebrating a recent face lift experienced by its downtown core as part of a joint initiative between the District and the local Chamber of Commerce. The exterior upgrades to existing businesses and infrastructure, ticketed with a $1.6 million price tag, was first conceived in 2009. On Friday August 5, a public presentation and bbq will recognize the efforts of the countless people who have worked on the projects, as well as funding contributed Federally from the Western Economic Diversification Fund, Provincially from Northern Economic Development Trust, locally from the District of Fort St. James, and Integris Credit Union.
The celebration, scheduled to run from 4 – 6 p.m. in the Fort St. James Spirit Square, will see a number of delegates present, including MLA John Rustad, Mayor Sandra Harwood, Chief Fred Sam and Community Futures Stuart Nechako. A special plaque will be given to the Chamber and District to mark the project by Northern Development Initiative Trust.
Elements completed as part of the “Embracing Our Roots Downtown Revitalization Project” include nearly $94,000 of upgrades to downtown storefront facades, with five to 10 per cent being contributed by local business owners; the addition of an electronic notice board to advertise local community events; a number of landscaping blocks along downtown walkways; an interpretive historic walking trail created between the National Historic Site and Cottonwood Park; and a number of permanent promotional fixtures situated between Vanderhoof and Fort St. James.
In reference to the impact the project has had on the community, Laura Chernowski states ‘As a result of the revitalization project, Fort St. James has become a jewel among other communities. Additionally, this project was able to give people work, when the community needed it most. The outcome of this program has made Fort St. James stand out, giving us our new face for the 21st Century.’ Economic impact of the Downtown Revitalization Project has totalled more than $1.6 million for the community since 2009. The Downtown Revitalization Project has been tremendously successful in helping to foster a renewed sense of civic pride by community members, increased working partnerships between organizations in the community, and created a model for other communities looking to develop the face of their downtown core.
The celebration of this project is open to the public. Comments and questions can be directed to Miguel Romero at the Chamber of Commerce by calling (250) 996–7023 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.