Revitalized Tilbury wins award

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Carrick’s Corner, a park in the heart of downtown Tilbury, is a key part of the Tilbury Downtown Revitalization project. The former vacant lot at the corner of Queen and Prospect streets has been transformed into a welcoming space that enhances the downtown shopping experience. The park, along with other improvements, led to Tilbury receiving an award from the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association. (Contributed image)
Carrick’s Corner, a park in the heart of downtown Tilbury, is a key part of the Tilbury Downtown Revitalization project. The former vacant lot at the corner of Queen and Prospect streets has been transformed into a welcoming space that enhances the downtown shopping experience. The park, along with other improvements, led to Tilbury receiving an award from the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association. (Contributed image)

Tilbury’s extensive makeover project is getting noticed outside of Chatham-Kent.

The Tilbury Business Improvement Area (BIA) has won an Ontario BIA award for Safe and Healthy Environment.

The award was presented at the recent national BIA conference in Hamilton.

“We were very excited. It’s an outstanding accomplishment for Tilbury and I think it’s very important that people in Tilbury know and recognize the work that was done by the Tilbury Downtown Revitalization project,” said Natalie Whittal, executive director of the Tilbury BIA and the Tilbury & District Chamber of Commerce.

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The three-year project received a total of $300,000 from the provincial government, Chatham-Kent, the Community Futures Development Corporation of Chatham-Kent and the Tilbury BIA and chamber of commerce.

Launched in 2010, the project encouraged merchants, property owners and the public to recommend ideas for improving the downtown in four key areas: economic development; organization and collaboration; marketing and promotions; and physical streetscape improvements.

According to Whittal, businesses owners identified the need for a new streetscape in surveys conducted in 2010.

With community support for the idea, the project moved ahead with a conceptual streetscape design.

In her submission for the Ontario BIA award, Whittal noted that the process has engaged community members and can be used as an example for other BIA’s preparing to take on beautification initiatives.

The Tilbury design incorporates many natural elements and builds on a theme related to the Carolinian forest.

Carrick’s Corner, a downtown parkette, is another key element of the project.

A vacant lot was transformed into a place where people can gather for events in the downtown.

The landscaped site features a gazebo, a pedestrian path, a bubbling rock, additional site furnishings and trees.

“It really brightened up the downtown area,” said Whittal. “People are really making use of it, and it looks lovely. And now we can have events there, have block parties and encourage people to shop downtown.”

Work will continue this summer as the Tilbury BIA and the municipality team up to add more elements of the streetscape design.

New sidewalks, curbs, greenery, flowerpots and lighting are all part of the plan.

Whittal expects the construction will get underway in July.

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