Comment 81492

By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted October 09, 2012 at 16:13:48 in reply to Comment 81491

Perhaps not formally, but the business community is just as as organized and self-promoting as any BIA, exemplified by the "James North Initiative", circa 2008:

"...we decided that James Street needed something to market itself. There is no business improvement area here ... So we felt by maybe piecing this together we could give the information and also promote the events that are happening here on a bigger scale... James Street North needs organization. We’ve been approached by the city as well as the police and other organizations who are looking to deal with James Street as a whole. And the biggest thing that’s been missing is a real organizing factor ... James Street used to have a BIA and unfortunately it’s not around anymore.”

James North was the beach-head for two-way conversion, got factored into EcDev's expanded definition of downtown for grants/loans purposes, finessed three pieces of public art, where most streets received one (such as Locke South, which has a Merchants' Association *and* a BIA), seen the director of Urban Renewal Planning as a project partner in the heart of the neighbourhood, seen the city bankroll an established arts gallery's foothold, seen a national media franchise bring its 24/7 spotlight to bear on the adjacent blocks, and so on and so on.

James North is hardly an underdog when it comes to tapping into city resources, or hapless when it comes to connecting with people of influence. In fact, that's probably a prime reason that there is still no James North BIA.

Not for a moment suggesting that this bunch have been content to rest on the lucky horseshoe up their collective behind. There has been an abundance of hard work and passion poured into the neighbourhood, and it would be churlish to say that the change is anything but welcome. But only in the laziest of PR cliches is this a neighbourhood fighting against uncommon odds.

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