Outdoor gathering spaces to get a facelift

CBT continues work to make area communities more livable

Whether it’s a downtown core, plaza or waterfront, outdoor public spaces help shape the livability and attractiveness of communities. Now local governments and First Nations communities in the Columbia Basin are invited to make these places even better by accessing Columbia Basin Trust’s new Community Outdoor Revitalization Grants.

This three-year, $6-million program helps communities create welcoming, safe and vibrant multi-use outdoor public spaces that support community gathering and programming. These spaces enhance community pride, engage residents with each other and the community, draw in tourists and help support local businesses.

“Communities around the Basin have expressed the importance of their outdoor public spaces to the social, cultural and even economic fabric of their communities,” said Johnny Strilaeff, Columbia Basin Trust president and chief executive officer. “Through this program, we’ll be supporting their priorities, increasing the value of our region’s public spaces and creating more opportunities for interaction.”

Municipalities, regional districts and First Nations communities can apply for up to $500,000 to create, restore or enhance an outdoor multi-use space. In addition, the Trust will provide up to $10,000 for planning and design for First Nations communities and communities with populations under 5,000.

Nakusp is a great example of a community enhancing its downtown with support from the Trust, and with input from residents. The project includes revamping the village’s main street and adding elements like benches, ornamental lighting, curb extensions, signage, landscaping and opportunities for public art.

“The extensive public engagement and planning process resulted in a plan that achieved the desired results: a more pedestrian friendly downtown environment and a streetscape that is aesthetically pleasing and functional and that retains the community’s heritage and culture,” said Mayor Tom Zeleznik.

“Once completed it will provide a welcoming atmosphere to visitors and a place for locals to stop and chat. This downtown enhancement project shows the community and area that people, groups and organizations can work together to achieve desired goals.”

There is $2 million available in this first intake, which closes June 14. Learn more about the program and how to apply at ourtrust.org/corgrants.

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