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Downtown Stephenville getting new plan for improvements

Bob Byrnes, project chair for the development of downtown Stephenville, and MP Gudie Hutchings pose on Main Street in Stephenville after the announcement on Monday of money to help with the development plan.
Bob Byrnes, project chair for the development of downtown Stephenville, and MP Gudie Hutchings pose on Main Street in Stephenville after the announcement on Monday of money to help with the development plan. - Frank Gale

While he hasn’t seen the plan yet, Danny Soucy of Arlim Co. is welcoming anything that would esthetically improve the downtown area in Stephenville.

The governments of Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador are providing $67,500 to help the Downtown Stephenville Business Improvement Association Corp. create an updated vision for downtown development in Stephenville.

Soucy said he agrees with the need for the improvements, and anything to improve the town has to be a positive thing.

“I’m interested in seeing what they come up with and would certainly like to see a green space located somewhere on Main Street,” he said.

Another thing he would like to see are some improvements to alleyways in between Main Street buildings.

“If we can access money to spruce up part of the town, it would be great,” Soucy said.

Gudie Hutchings, member of Parliament for Long Range Mountains, was in Stephenville on Monday for the announcement of $48,750 through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency Business Development Fund, and John Finn, MHA for Stephenville-Port au Port, announced $18,750 in provincial funding from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation.

The Downtown Stephenville Business Improvement Association Corp. has hired consultant Upland of Halifax to help create a community vision for downtown development in Stephenville. The project will include a detailed consultation with the community that will inform a comprehensive design with recommendations for a phased development approach.

The consultant is expected in Stephenville today to start its work.

“Enhancing Stephenville’s downtown environment and creating an inviting atmosphere will lead to increased traffic in the downtown area and positively impact the local economy,” Hutchings stated in a prepared release.

She said this project will provide an enhanced business environment to help attract new businesses and meet the needs of existing businesses.

Finn said Stephenville’s rich heritage is reflected in the community’s downtown core and this funding will help the Downtown Stephenville BIA create a plan to help the downtown retail sector service the tourism industry, and residents of Stephenville and the surrounding areas.

Project chairman Bob Byrnes said the dynamics of Stephenville have changed during the past quarter century since the last plan was done, and that is why it has undertaken a new strategy to enhance the downtown core.

“We are very pleased to have the support of three levels of government in assisting us with this modernization of our downtown,” Byrnes said.

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