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A $875,500 shot to the 'heart of the city'

Friday, July 11, 2014   by: Donna Hopper

During a brief ceremony Friday afternoon outside the Sault Ste. Marie Downtown Association office, MPP David Orazietti made a substantial funding announcement.

With members of the Downtown Association Board of Directors, city staff, and Mayor Debbie Amaroso present, it was announced that $875,50 in Northern Ontario Heritage Funds was granted to the Downtown Association for downtown property improvements and development.

"The Downtown has incredible historic significance to the vibrancy of this community," MPP Orazietti told "It's the business hub of Sault Ste. Marie and I am very pleased that we have programs that continue to demonstrate support for the businesses that are here in the community and the jobs that are tied to those businesses. It's important that we insure we have a strong, healthy and vibrant downtown for years to come."

The funding comes in response to the Downtown Community Improvement Plan (DCIP) put forth by the City of Sault Ste. Marie and the Downtown Association which "seeks to encourage new private sector investment into existing buildings throughout the Downtown area."

The DCIP, approved by City Council on February 3, 2014, aims to create a safer, more attractive, and revitalized downtown core through a variety of area improvements and amenities.

"This funding reinforces our partnership with the city, it shines a really positive light on downtown, and most importantly it gives much needed funds to the people that come here every day and work hard to improve downtown," said Tasha Varpio, manager of the Downtown Association. "The downtown really is the heart of the city."

A news release issued by the Office of MPP David Orazietti follows.

Orazietti announces $875,500 for Downtown revitalization

Provincial government supporting Sault Ste. Marie local economy

SAULT STE. MARIE - The province is supporting the City of Sault Ste. Marie with $875,500 for the city’s 2014 Downtown Community Improvement Plan, which is focused on encouraging new development and the restoration and redevelopment of existing buildings as part of a plan to revitalize the city’s downtown core, announced David Orazietti MPP.

“Our government is supporting the second phase of Sault Ste. Marie’s downtown revitalization plan because we recognize the value of investments that help to attract new business and create new jobs,” said Orazietti. “This funding will support the diversification of our local economy and is in line with the objectives of the Northern Growth Plan, which identifies strong community downtowns as vital to ensuring the overall economic health of Northern communities.”

“The Downtown Association is pleased to continue working with the city to further improve our already vibrant downtown,” said Tasha Varpio, manager of the Downtown Association. “Thank you to Mr. Orazietti for his continued support of Downtown Sault Ste. Marie.”

The funding is being delivered through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund (NOHFC) and will be used to encourage new developments in the city’s downtown core and provide incentives for property owners to restore the condition of existing buildings, creating a catalyst for new development and further private-sector investment.

The 2014 Downtown Community Improvement Plan is a three year plan building upon the success of the city’s 2007 Downtown Revitalization strategy.

The Plan seeks to revitalize Sault Ste. Marie’s downtown core by attracting new businesses offering a greater variety of goods and services to residents and creating additional residential units in the heart of the city. 

In 2007 the Downtown revitalization project was provided with a provincial investment of $570,000 through the Rural Economic Development (RED) Program.

Since 2003, NOHFC has invested $87 million in 728 projects in Sault Ste. Marie, creating or sustaining more than 2,687 jobs.

Some of the key NOHFC investments in Sault Ste. Marie since 2003 include:

  • $5 million Agawa Canyon Tour Train
  • $2.5 million Heliene Solar Manufacturing Plant
  • $2.4 million for the Sault Ste. Marie Airport Development Corporation
  • $2.3 million for Algoma University Biosciences and Technology Building ($10.3 million total provincial investment)
  • $2.1 million Flakeboard Ltd. Expansion
  • $2 million Sault College - IT Infrastructure, Multi-Media Centre, Wind Energy Training Centre
  • $1.6 million Hub Trail & Waterfront Walkway Expansion ($3.1 million total provincial investment)
  • $1.5 million West End Recreation Centre ($6.2 million total provincial investment)
  • $1.5 million for Sault College Academic Building ($9.5 million total provincial investment)
  • $1.5 million Huron Central Rail upgrades ($16.5 million total provincial investment)
  • $1 million Triple M Metal
  • $1 million Heritage Discovery Centre
  • $1 million Essar Centre ($4.7 million total provincial investment)
  • $1 million Algoma Public Health building – Technology ($9.3 million total provincial investment)
  • $1 million City - Emergency Response Centre (EMS) ($2.2 million total provincial investment)
  • $1 million SIS Manufacturing to upgrade equipment and infrastructure
  • $785,500 Palmer Construction Group Inc.
  • $738,200 for Rector Machine Works infrastructure and equipment upgrades
  • $550,000 Group Health Centre office expansion
  • $475,000 Soo Foundry and Machine equipment upgrade
  • $202,750 China Steel equipment upgrades

Quick facts

Since 2003, the NOHFC has invested $930 million in 6,055 projects in Northern Ontario, creating or sustaining more than 23,400 jobs

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