More than 200 people showed up at a public meeting Monday night to discuss the future of Beechwood Avenue in New Edinburgh.

Residents, business owners and elected officials came together to brainstorm about how to revitalize the area following a large fire more than 18 months ago.


Heather Matthews, who owns Scone Witch on Beechwood Avenue, says business has dropped since the fire in March 2011. (CBC)

Many stores have remained closed along a block of Beechwood. Most recently, Books on Beechwood announced that it is shutting down.

Other businesses have been mired in court battles between landlords and tenants.

But interest in the street is growing and some people hope it may be heading toward a brighter future.

The Scone Witch, a coffee shop on Beechwood, has seen a dramatic drop in sales since the fire, said owner Heather Matthews.

"I hear it all day long. 'Oh no, the bookstore's closing.' They have so many concerns about the street, everybody's complaining but they don't know what they can do," Matthews said. "I haven't heard a whole lot in terms of anything except that things will start to happen if we all get together."

'It could be so much,' councillor says


Coun. Mathieu Fluery says it'll be up to commercial site owners along the street to decide which businesses move in. (CBC)

As of Jan. 1, two neighbourhood associations in the area became one, the Beechwood Village Alliance, and it aims to boost the street's profile.

"It could be so much," said Coun. Mathieu Fleury. "… It can only go up from here."

Tobias Nussbaum, the co-founder of the alliance, organized the meeting.

"I think it's a sign of how engaged the community is and how important the future of Beechwood is to them," Nussbam said of the turnout.

Many people who showed up pushed for small businesses to move in. Fleury said that it'll be up to each commercial site owner, as long as the tenants meet required zoning bylaws.