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March 17, 2004
For immediate release

Alberton's Downtown Core to be Transformed

Development and Technology

A new project to revitalize Alberton's downtown core was announced today by the Honourable Joe McGuire, Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA); Cletus Dunn, MLA for Alberton-Miminegash on behalf of the Province of PEI and His Worship Pat Murphy, Mayor of the Town of Alberton.

ACOA will invest $150,000 in the project through the Strategic Community Investment Fund (SCIF). Plans include a series of streetscape improvements to transform the downtown into an inviting pedestrian environment and a destination for local shoppers and visitors. This project is a key element of a strategic plan developed for Alberton and Area Development Corporation on behalf of the Town of Alberton to guide infrastructure improvements for the long-term growth of the local economy and the tourism sector.

"Alberton's downtown core must be improved to give visitors a stronger sense of the unique culture, shopping opportunities and pride that characterizes this community," said Minister McGuire. "I am pleased that ACOA is a key partner in this community-led streetscape enhancement project, which will complement on-going investments in tourism infrastructure across Western PEI in projects such as the Northport Pier, North Cape and the West Point Harbourside Centre."

"The town of Alberton has the potential to be a major attraction for this end of the Island, thanks in a large part to its distinct cultural heritage and identity," said MLA Cletus Dunn on behalf of Minister of Development and Technology Michael Currie. "The Province of Prince Edward Island is pleased to assist the enhancement of the Alberton core which will create great potential for economic growth and sustainability."

Once the streetscape enhancements are completed, strolling along Main Street (from Church to Poplar Street) will be a much more comfortable and rewarding experience for visitors and residents alike. Existing sidewalks will be improved and new ones added; new streetlights will brighten the area; and the Welcome Park on Route 145 will use signage to inform visitors about local businesses and events and provide useful orientation maps for local and neighbouring tourist attractions.

Parking improvements and signage will also make it easier for visitors to access Main Street and will offer them a coordinated first impression of the various elements of the downtown. Planning for the project will start immediately, with the majority of the work to be completed by the summer.

"This is a major step forward for the Town of Alberton, as we move forward with our long-term downtown enhancement plan," said Mayor Pat Murphy. "We are very pleased that both levels of government are partnering with us to build our tourism potential by making the downtown more attractive to local residents and visitors."

Along with these key initiatives to strengthen and showcase the assets of the downtown core, the enhancement plan recommends long-term improvements for the use of land and buildings, parking, tourism, services and utilities, and housing.

Minister McGuire said these long-term plans demonstrate the community's positive and aggressive vision for the future of the downtown.

"The improvements announced here today represent the single largest investment in Main Street in recent years. This project has set the standard for future infrastructure development in the Town of Alberton," said Minister McGuire.

Along with ACOA's investment of $150,000 through the Strategic Community Investment Fund (SCIF), the Province of PEI is providing $40,000 and the Town of Alberton is providing $50,000 to the project.

SCIF provides $135 million over five years to help communities in Atlantic Canada create an environment that encourages the development of strategic sectors such as tourism. The fund is a component of the Atlantic Investment Partnership (AIP), a five-year Government of Canada initiative designed to help Atlantic Canadians compete in the global, knowledge-based economy.

For more information, contact: Stephen Heckbert, Office of the Minister for ACOA, (613) 948-7293 ; Danielle Gauthier, ACOA PEI & Tourism, (902) 566-7569 ; Ann Thurlow, PEI Department of Development and Technology, (902) 569-0571 or Pat Murphy, Mayor of Alberton, (902) 853-2720.

Media Contact: Ann Thurlow
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