New Brunswick

Fredericton business group tries to push downtown boundaries

Downtown Fredericton Inc. is asking the city to expand the boundaries of the downtown to reflect the actual core, says the group's president, Matt Savage.

42 businesses would be included in proposed expansion

Downtown Fredericton Inc. wants to expand the downtown's boundaries. (Joe McDonald/CBC)

Downtown Fredericton Inc. is asking the city to expand the boundaries of the downtown to reflect the actual core, says the group's president, Matt Savage. 

The district now runs from the centre of Smythe Street in the west to the centre of St. John Street in the east and from the centre of Brunswick Street northward to the St. John River.

The downtown group wants the area extended in the east to the Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge, and to include all of Brunswick Street down to the Victoria Health Centre.

"So just baby steps," said Savage. "It's a nice extension and I think it better reflects what downtown really is at this point." 

Expand slowly

Savage said the area could be expanded even more, but the non-profit group wants to move slowly. 

"That boundary needs to be that core business district, so as we get to the periphery, we have to draw that line somewhere." 

Matt Savage, president of Downtown Fredericton Inc., said the expansion of the downtown core would better reflect reality. (Cari Blanchard/CBC)

Savage said 42 properties in the expansion will have to pay the levy if the city agrees to amend the bylaws.

The levy helps Downtown Fredericton Inc. provide some money for signage in marketing strategies in the business improvement area. The group also has beautification programs, including some trash pickup and graffiti removal. 

Savage said he hopes the expansion will be in place by the end of the year. 

Thriving businesses

A downtown business owner himself, Savage said Downtown Fredericton wants to create an environment where business can thrive. 

"We're a small town, and there's a lot of opportunities where people can spend their money, whether it's at the mall, online shopping, so it's really that economic development that we're worried about."

Savage said the group exists as well to create a downtown that's inviting.

The number one issue the group hears about is parking, something members and the city are working on.  

"That's the biggest issue we face," Savage said. 

With files from Information Morning Fredericton

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