BIA reports successful year
The Creemore Business Improvement Area (BIA) is wrapping up a busy and successful year according to President, Nancy Johnston.
“We stuck to the budget and it was a very active year for the BIA,” she said during her report at the annual general meeting Monday (Oct. 23).
Johnston said members are grateful for the support of Clearview Township and the community at large. “We’re all united by the common goal of building
a vibrant, caring, nurturing community,” she said. This year, the BIA partnered with a variety of community groups on events ranging from the Easter egg hunt, to the Summer Solstice and the Creemore Arts Festival. Johnston says the BIA wants to do lots of events to attract people downtown but the reality is, it takes a lot of volunteers to pull these things together, and members are left struggling to run their own businesses. Therefore it makes sense to partner with groups like the Purple Hills Arts and Heritage Society, the Creemore Horticultural Society and Creemore Springs Brewery and support their events. A new initiative for the BIA this year will be a social media strategy. Previous attempts to develop a robust social media presence have fizzled because of the time required. BIA member Cheri Mara has taken on the task and money has been earmarked in the proposed budget for purchase of professional photography and assets. Mara’s goal is to post three times per week on Facebook and Instagram, and eventually expand to more platforms. She hopes to create a regular feature profiling one business each week to amplify the way local businesses contribute to the community.
The BIA receives a $25,000 levy collected from property owners within the district. Treasurer Sara Hershoff says every penny of the levy is spent on necessities like garbage removal and flowers. Remaining funds from this year’s levy will be used to support the social media strategy and the Christmas shopping event. Additional money raised through donations and events allow the BIA to deliver on their mandate of promoting the village. For next year, the BIA will continue to fund the Summer Solstice and Harvest Festival, and will increase sponsorship of Sundays in the Park, organized by Creemore Village Green. Johnston says the Creemore Community Foundation and the Village Green have reinvigorated downtown Creemore. The Foundation will need more support to maintain the level of programming in the coming year, and Johnston says the groups work well together with the common goals of community building and enhancing the Creemore experience.
Upcoming BIA led events to come include a Christmas shopping event, held the last weekend in November, and Christmas in the Valley, featuring the Santa Claus Parade on Dec. 2.
Members voted to approve the draft budget which will now be forwarded to council for final approval.
Trina Berlo photo: The BIA’s take-a-seat program has been popular in recent years, resulting in 32 Muskoka chairs being sponsored in the downtown core, generating about $3,000 in revenue. Left: Susan Cook and John Smart sit in the chairs they sponsored in memory of their loved ones.