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Ina Lou and Wayne Brownlee approached Biggar in 2019 with a generous offer to give back to the community they were raised in. A committee of community members was assembled in 2020 to inform development of a concept plan to revitalize Biggar based on residents' wishes.
Concepts developed by landscape architecture firm Crosby Hanna & Associates were shared at community open houses in January 2021 outlining a major revitalization of Main Street and the former CN grounds. Final plans incorporating community feedback were approved by Council in April 2021.
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Spurred by a philanthropic couple who are providing up to $2.5M in matching dollars, the Town's revitalization plans have been driven by the community. considerable consultation and planning occurred in conjunction with the residents of Biggar and area to create the master concept for the Town's next chapter.
The bold plans will energize and revitalize the town, attract new residents and visitors, and will make Biggar the envy of like-sized communities. An animated and vibrant downtown core encourages commerce, is walkable, accessible to seniors, sensitive to the environment, and celebrates heritage.
Comments heard during the open-house presentations regarding the plans include:
A generous matching donation of $2.5M has been offered by the Ian Lou and Wayne Brownlee Family Foundation. This capital fundraising campaign aims to match the entire $2.5M in order to maximize the opportunity presented.
The Town has initiated planning to consider future maintenance and/or operational costs. The project will be managed in such a way that these costs are minimized to the best ability through sustainable features and practices (e.g. LED lighting, solar power, water capture).
Absolutely! Donations can be pledged over a period of up to 5 years. Your gift can be made on a weekly, monthly or annual basis.
The Town has planned for bridge financing to cover any interim financing throughout the pledge period offered to donors.
The Town of Biggar has been, and will continue to be, a significant partner in this project. As the total cost of the project is $7.5M, the Town if working towards partnering with all levels of government to attain funds beyond the community fundraising goal.
The Town's hope is to move forward with this project without raising taxes to cover capital costs of the revitalization.
In order to maximize the generous matching funds, the Town of Biggar aims to meet the fundraising goal of $2.5M from other generous donors. Corporate donations, sponsorships, and foundation grants will be pursued in addition to personal donations.
Biggar's Mayor and Council are responsible for final decisions on this project. The project will be managed and executed by Town administration.
Digital town halls, open houses presenting the master concept, stakeholder ground, and a volunteer fundraising campaign have all been undertaken to ensure community engagement. The residents of Biggar and the surrounding areas have participated in these activities in high numbers allowing Town Council to move forwards confidently knowing that the community is on board with the plans.
A volunteer fundraising team has been complied that serves to represent the many stakeholder groups within the community including business, agriculture and more.
The start of the renovations will depend on when the necessary funds are raised. Some work may be completed in phases.
All funds raised in this campaign will go toward the capital project. A breakdown of the project budget can be provided for further detail.
The campaign is volunteer driven and managed. We anticipate all campaign expenses to be less than $10,000.00. The Biggar Membership Program has a separate fulfillment budget with an ROI of 1,000%.
With the professional expertise of Crosby Hanna.
More information, including how to get involved as a donor and/or volunteer, can be found on the Town of Biggar's Facebook page, the campaign leadership team and D'Shae Bussiere (Community Development Officer)