High on the to-do list of a movement to improve downtown North Bay is the installation of public art and increasing the number of flower planters.

There has been plenty of chatter about the state of downtown North Bay but there are groups seeking to make changes and a new funding stream could beautify downtown with, among other things, flowers and local art displays.

Interested parties in the health of downtown, namely merchants, property owners and residents have tried various initiatives to inject more life into the area.

In steps the City of North Bay. A recent endorsement by North Bay City Council has paved the way for the City to enter into an agreement with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and its Main Street Revitalization Initiative.

The purpose of the initiative, according to a report to council, is to “ensure investment in communities’ main street/downtown areas to support small businesses.”

With the approval, $75,194.93 is now available to the Downtown Improvement Area for disbursement.

A breakdown of estimated funding expenditures from the DIA:

  • Public art – $20,000
  • Planters – $20,194.93
  • Billboards – $4,000
  • Banners – $3,000
  • Vacant window hangings – $3,000
  • Community board – $5,000
  • Event signage – $10,000
  • Holiday decor – $10,000
  • TOTAL: $75,194.93

According to the report:

“Public art is in high demand. It attracts newcomers to an area, beautifies our city and helps combat safety perceptions as well as eradicating vandalism. By activating public spaces you are inviting the community to partake in the shared free experience which will then attract patrons to the area.”

On the flower planters, the report states:

“Flower pots (planters) will be purchased to grow the amount of green space within the DIA boundaries. Currently, we only have planters along Main Street. In partnership with the City of North Bay, we will double the amount enabling us to line Oak and McIntyre Streets to accompany the existing planters on Main Street. We will also commission custom built removable planters that will replace the jersey barriers on the Main West block edging the parking lot beside Guardian Drugs. Growing the green space in the Downtown beautifies our core, attracting newcomers and defines the Downtown as a district. Showcasing the area as a district will create a sense of unity among merchants and building owners as well as promote a walking culture for patrons.”