Main Street P.A. readies new building restoration efforts

Matt Gardner
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Two buildings on Central Avenue are set for restoration this summer through the Main Street Prince Albert program.

Along with the Funky Fresh Café and Bistro, the Main Street P.A. office itself -- which also serves as the headquarters of the Prince Albert and District Downtown Improvement Association (PADIDA) -- will also be getting a makeover.

Main Street P.A. co-ordinator and PADIDA manager Bob Gill noted that the exterior of his building had deteriorated since the Prince Albert Police Service, which previously used it as a substation, vacated the location four or five years ago.

“It’s kind of taking it back,” Gill said of efforts to restore the building façade, which will include brick on the roof, a re-done bulkhead, new door, brick pilasters and coronets on top.

“It’s going to look pretty good when it’s all done, for sure, as compared to this dilapidated state … with tiles falling all over the place and everything and that,” he added. “So we’re really looking forward to that because that’s been a couple years … working with the property owner and that on this one.”

Meanwhile, the Funky Fresh Café and Bistro is working to secure another contractor for its own revitalization efforts, which will cover both the front of the bistro and chocolate shop.

Gill noted that the changes by the bistro’s owner will complement a similar restoration initiative by the bistro’s neighbour RNF Ventures, such as in the choice of paint colours.

While the bistro will see new doors and windows and the re-painting of brick work, all the brick features and coronets on top will remain the same.

Having met with the contractor and property owner, the restoration of the Main Street P.A. office is now scheduled to begin in the first week of August. The work is expected to last approximately one month.

Funky Fresh, on the other hand, may be as little as two or three weeks away from the beginning of its own restoration efforts. Gill was optimistic that both projects could be finished by the end of August.

All building revitalization initiatives, he noted, start from the premise of restoring them to as close to their original appearance as possible.

“We just want to keep it to the time of its era, whether it was the ’40s, ’50s, ’60s,” Gill said.

It’s a real great opportunity for any of the property owners to fix up their building and have somebody else pay for half the cost. Bob Gill

“A lot of these buildings were built in 1912 and we still want them to maintain their looks of that 1912, because that’s what makes this downtown area unique … the historical buildings and the architectural designs and that that we have down here.

“So we’re doing our best to preserve that, and with this Main Street program that definitely assists the property owners with the funding that comes forward for it.”

The Main Street Prince Albert program receives $50,000 per year of capital from the provincial government for a period of three years.

The collective $150,000 represents matched funding, meaning that if a business owner is doing a façade improvement, Main Street P.A. can cover up to 50 per cent of the costs.

“It’s a real great opportunity for any of the property owners to fix up their building and have somebody else pay for half the cost … It just helps, like I say, to preserve our heritage and our history of our downtown,” Gill said.

The goal of Main Street P.A. is to work on four projects per year.

Recent revitalization projects that the program lent its support to have included the AODBT office, Davidner’s Clothing and Western store and the office of local attorney Peter Abrametz.

Planned initiatives for the future include H&R Block, which will be eligible for funding to re-paint its sloped tin roof, and a set of brand new doors and windows for Clarke Appraisals and its two neighbours on 11th Street West.

City property will also be benefitting from the Main Street program through the re-painting of the fountain in front of City Hall as well as the old-style streetlights in front of the Arts Centre.

“We’re going to be working with the city to have some matched funding with them hopefully for that project, because it doesn’t have to be strictly façades,” Gill said.

“If there’s a park area being done or something -- anything to do with an improvement to the downtown area -- we can help contribute some funding.”

Organizations: Main Street P.A., Prince Albert and District Downtown Improvement Association, Prince Albert Police Service Arts Centre

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