The Heritage City is entered into a Main Street Matters online contest that aims to spruce up downtown with a fresh coat of paint.
The Benjamin Moore sponsored competition features over 100 communities across North America, 24 of them Canadian towns. The top 20 chosen through number of votes will have three blocks painted over the next year with the help of local retailers and painting contractors.
The Nelson and District of Commerce entered Nelson into the contest as executive director Tom Thomson recognized a painting prospect not to be missed.
“If there’s an opportunity to spruce up our town and a company is willing to step forward and say we can provide the main impetus to make this happen, I am all in,” says Thomson.
The last time downtown saw a revamp was in the ‘80s and three decades later, it’s again time to invest, he says. Winning this contest would spur on a revitalization effort already underway. Changes have been made to the amenities areas, new statues are in place and the visions of a Downtown Waterfront Master Plan and Railtown are being developed.
Benjamin Moore calls the program Main Street Matters as their local retailers have been integral parts of many downtowns. They see the value of streets like Nelson’s Baker Street.
“It’s the place where your banker recognizes you by name, shopkeepers are willing to open early for you, and where you catch up with friends at your favorite coffee shop,” their contest website says. “Main Street is a part of all our histories, which is why we should all take care of them, preserve them, and work to keep their businesses thriving.”
Should Nelson win, Thomson would love to see some of the prize paint hit the CP station that the Chamber is currently working on. As part of Railtown at the west end of downtown, it’s the future home of a regional visitor gateway opportunity centre.
The executive director says the community can’t take Baker Street and downtown for granted. Investing in bricks and mortar means an investment in the local economy.
“What’s the future Baker Street going to look like?” he asks. “If we don’t continue to support our downtown, our main area of commerce, it becomes problematic for our community.”
Nelson is competing against Kamloops, Penticton, Parksville in British Columbia and communities like Lethbridge and Wetaskiwin in Alberta. Winkler, Manitoba and Charlottetown, P.E.I. are among other Canadian cities involved.
Thomson encourages everyone to vote once a day through June 30 to make sure Nelson gets the most votes. He knows it’s possible for this community to rally together and win based on a similar online competition hosted by Powder Magazine.
“This will take a dedicated effort on the community’s behalf similar to the effort that Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism poured into the Best Ski Town Throw Down this winter. You all did a great job of getting friends and family to commit to those votes,” he says. “We hope that through social media it’s not just locals that are voting on behalf of Nelson but people who’ve lived in Nelson before or visited in the past. It’s nice to be able to vote for a community you find near and dear to your heart.”
To vote go to paintwhatmatters.ca, click on the province and then the town name appearing on the left.