With the Rainy Lake Market Square on track to be built starting in the spring, the Rainy River Future Development Corp. is focusing on ways to make it a vibrant community hub right from the get-go.
“We’ve been spending a bit of time and attention on grant writing so that we can having full programming for the first part-year and first full year as the market square starts up,” RRFDC consultant Tannis Drysdale said during a report to town council at its regular meeting last night.
One such example is the Ontario 150 fund, which has been applied for to support market square activities next year.
The RRFDC also is developing a strategy to encourage activities on Scott Street to increase visitation by residents and tourists alike, which includes the possibility of sidewalk cafés.
Preliminary meetings with local restaurants already have occurred, as reported earlier this month in the Times.
Meanwhile, the campaign for “Project Petunia” will be begin next month.
The RRFDC took over “Project Petunia” from the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce earlier this year and was successful in selling 47 flower baskets, which lined King’s Highway from Tim Hortons to the tourist information centre.
Sponsors could choose to adopt a flower basket for one or two years at a time.
Fourteen of these 47 were two-year commitments.
In advance of next summer, the RRFDC will be looking for individuals, groups, and businesses now to sponsor baskets again.
Sponsors can “dedicate” flower baskets to family members, friends, loved ones, or important causes while keeping the town looking beautiful next summer.
Sponsors also are publicly recognized (this past year, an ad listing them was published in the Times).
Petunias were grown by Lowey’s Greenhouses, and the RRFDC partnered with the town to hang and maintain the baskets.
Also at last night’s meeting, council honoured 2016 “Citizen of the Year” Ruth Caldwell.
Surrounded by friends, Caldwell was presented with a plaque by Mayor Roy Avis, who spent several minutes outlining her impressive résumé of community service over the years.
Pastor Brian Keffer of Zion Lutheran Church also shared kind words about Caldwell, noting her love for Fort Frances is infectious.