Prince Edward County’s Newspaper of Record
June 13, 2024
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Town Beautiful

Picton BIA flourishing under leadership of Mark Rose, who moves to a full-time position

Mark Rose, Executive Director of the Picton Business Improvement Association, and Lesley Knox, its Treasurer, presented the annual year-in-review report last week at Council alongside the 2024 BIA budget. 

Mr. Rose will be moving from his current part-time hours to a full-time position. The Director formerly accrued an additional 15 hours a week through the provincial Digital Main Street program facilitated by the BIA, but that role comes to an end this month.

To keep Mr. Rose in place, the BIA has decided to restore the ED position to full-time, and reduce the current office administrator’s hours from 15 to 6.

As Ms. Knox, who is a partner at Welch LLP, noted, the ED position has historically been a full-time role, but dropped to part time when Mark Rose took over.

“We need stability and leadership. There have been three different Executive Directors since I took over this job,” she said. “With all that turnover, when the Board appointed Mark, we decided to make the position part-time, and appointed a part-time administrator just so we could see what was happening.”

“Mark has demonstrated he is capable and committed and successful at building relationships with the Board, with local businesses, and with the County.”

The report highlighted the many successes of the BIA under Mr. Rose’s leadership in 2023.

Its “Grand Openings” business program has flourished. Ten new businesses opened, or re-opened, their doors last year in Picton, including the Picton Gazette, The Golf Studio, and POA Studio and Frankie’s Bakery. At every one the giant scissors were out to cut the red ribbon, and the Mayor, flanked by Picton Councillor Phil St. Jean, on hand to celebrate.

“Opening a new business is a big deal; the owners have invested a lot to get to that day: it has to be celebrated,” said Mr. Rose. “This is low hanging fruit.”

Other highlights included a Craft Crawl on the Picton Main Street to accompany Canada Day festivities at Benson Park. “It drew attention to all the businesses on Main Street without closing it,” noted Mr. Rose.

The holiday festivities on the evening of November 18 were the standout of 2023, however.  “It was a warmer than usual November, so we really benefited. There was also the tree-lighting ceremony we did with the Department of Illumination which doubled in attendance over 2022. We also added a procession down Main Street which was a big hit,” noted Mr. Rose.

Picton BIA festivities, November 2023

“The town was packed,” recalled the Mayor. “I’ve never seen throngs like that out at night shopping on Main Street. It was overwhelming, just a terrific event.”

“With full-time leadership,” noted Ms. Knox, “we think the BIA can accomplish a whole lot more in 2024.”

To that end, the BIA Board is making a 13% increase to the budget,  adding $15,000 to take the total for 2024 to $139,000.

The increase comes on top of an accumulated surplus of $16,000 in unspent funds. The extra funds will double the amount the BIA spent on advertising, marketing, and promotion last year.

“We  want more grand openings, more open houses and activations and events, and we want to help promote and support those things,” added Mr. Rose.

Expansion

Both Mr. Rose and Ms. Knox noted that Picton is growing. The catchment area of the BIA, which runs from Spencer Street to Cold Storage Road, could expand on either end.

“We are asked all the time by businesses on the other side of those boundaries to be included,” said Mr. Rose.

Council approves the catchment area of the BIA. “An expansion will need to be approved by Council,” noted CAO Marcia Wallace. “That boundary identifies all the businesses that are subject to the levy.”

The BIA is funded by a levy on the businesses it serves, administered by the municipality.  

There are extensive plans to continue to activate Picton Main Street. “Construction is now complete on the east end,” noted Mr. Rose. “We are adding beautiful plants from Lockyers, and hiring a ‘streetscape physician’ to keep it clean and beautiful.” 32 new hanging baskets are in the works. 

“Everyone has noticed, since the passing of Owen Jones, the meticulous attention he paid to maintaining the appearance of our street — we want that to continue now,” said Ms. Knox. 

This text is from the Volume 194 No. 10 edition of The Picton Gazette
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