It’s been a long wait for local business owners and advocates for the downtown core.
Wednesday’s council decision to invest $3.5 million into streetscape improvements along Mission’s First Avenue is a huge step in the right direction towards revitalization.
And while this initiative is important, it is still just the first of many that are required to transform the downtown into the public gathering place that is so needed in this community.
Council has done its part – now businesses, building owners and the public have to do theirs.
New decorative sidewalks and lighting may help to make downtown more attractive, but it does nothing to improve the look of some of the older buildings that are also in need of a facelift.
Many businesses are doing all they can to present a professional, approachable storefront. However, there are some building owners that have let the structures become shabby.
In order for the revitalization of downtown Mission to work, several other things need to happen.
Building owners have to see the benefit of the proposed improvements and take the initiative to repair and maintain their properties.
New businesses have to be sold on the potential of a new and improved downtown.
Most importantly, the public has to support the endeavour.
Downtown relies on foot traffic and as long as shoppers are driving across the bridge to buy goods, merchants will struggle.
By announcing this financial commitment to the downtown, council is starting down the path towards revitalization. Let’s hope everyone else involved follows.