Florenceville-Bristol putting ACOA ‘Rediscover Main Street’ funds to work

by | Aug 8, 2022

‘Tunesday in the Park’ continues at Riverside Park with John and Jean Maunder perform on Tuesday, Aug. 9

John and Jean Maunder take the stage Tuesday, Aug. 9, at the Riverside Park Gazebo in Florenceville-Bristol as part of the growing “Tunesday in the Park” concert series.
The weekly Tuesday event, with the Second Wind Music Centre serving as a rain location, is part of the town’s extensive ACOA-supported “Rediscover Main Streets initiative.

In April, the town of Florenceville-Bristol applied for federal funding through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.
Florenceville-Bristol Tourism and Business Development Manager Bobbie O’Donnell said ACOA informed the town in July that it approved its application. ACOA will contribute $30,000 to the $57,665 project, with the town covering the balance.
Tunesday in the Park is the first part of the multifaceted tourism-focused project.

O’Donnell said the concerts, which started July 19, have been well received by the public.
“Each week, the concert is attracting larger crowds,” she said.

O’Donnell said the family-friendly, accessible to all events are free to attend each Tuesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Gazebo in Riverside Park and feature high-calibre New Brunswick talent.

She said the concerts grow weekly from solo to duo and trio configurations, with the series finale on Sept. 6 featuring a full band with an opening act. In the event of rain, O’Donnell added, the events move inside to the Second Wind Music Centre at 16 Curtis Road, with doors opening at 5:30 p.m.

The concert series covers only part of the project. O’Donnell said town staff are currently installing custom-designed Explore Florenceville-Bristol-themed street banners offering residents and visitors a more impactful sense of arrival along the town’s Main Street in both wards.

The banners feature artistic images of key icons and landmarks to remind residents and guests of the town’s attraction and showcase the town’s tourism destination website www.exploreflorencevillebristol.ca [1] and Florenceville-Bristol’s signature hashtag #FrenchFryCapitalOfTheWorld [2].

O’Donnell said the installation of the banners is underway, including retrofitting some lamp posts to hold the new banners, with completion by the end of the week.

O’Donnell said the final element of the project would focus the town’s financial contribution on holiday decorations. The town’s signature exhibit is the “Potato Barrel Christmas Tree,” located at historical Riverside Park, which embraces Florenceville-Bristol’s agricultural heritage.

From mid-November to mid-January, residents and tourists visit Riverside Park to see the festive tree. O’Donnell said the town would replace damaged barrels, add lighting features, and a tree topper.

The project will also add more light displays along the boardwalk near the Old Florenceville Bridge, including plans to add new, smaller scaled Potato Barrel Trees on the boardwalk or the Andrew and Laura McCain Library lawn.
Florenceville-Bristol’s Mayor Karl Curtis welcomed the ACOA funding support.

“The funding opportunity comes at a perfect time,” he said. ” As soon as COVID restrictions eased and warmer weather arrived, we could see residents become more confident and comfortable moving around the community.”

While acknowledging some people remain hesitant about travel, the mayor hopes area residents will become tourists in their hometown.

“The proposed projects involve multiple key elements that will awaken our Main Street throughout the year, resulting in economic growth for our neighbourhood businesses and operators,” Curtis said.

Town and ACOA officials expressed hope the funding strategy would drive employment opportunities with existing or new businesses, such as food and beverage providers, themed accommodations and equipment rentals for cyclists or paddlers.
“Our main streets, downtowns and neighbourhoods are at the heart of our vibrant rural and urban communities here in Atlantic Canada,” said Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for ACOA.

She said such investments in towns like Florenceville-Bristol are designed to breathe new life into the community and encourage residents and tourists to enjoy what the community offers.

O’Donnell agreed the tourist and event enhancements are not limited to attracting more tourists to the town.
“We need to be tourists in our own town,” she said.

ACOA officials described the $10-million Rediscover Main Streets as an initiative to support locally-driven measures targeting tourists, Atlantic Canadians and local residents. The initiative complements other federal, provincial and municipal efforts to help businesses and communities.

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