New Plan To Help Revitalize Downtown Harrow Is In The Works

The Town of Essex is looking for a consultant to flesh out its Harrow Streetscape Plan.

On Tuesday night, council unanimously approved issuing a Request For Proposals and a $40,000 budget to better map out the project.

A steering committee has also been created for the project which will include members of council, administration and the Harrow Chamber of Commerce.

While Essex Mayor Ron McDermott voted in favour of the project, he worries council is moving too quickly and there won't be dollars to support recommended construction.

"I want to hold back for however long it takes — four months, six months — to see if we're going to get any grant money from the government rather than have our taxpayers paying it out," he says.

McDermott is concerned the plan may outpace the Community Improvement Plan already established.

Councillor Steve Bjorkman disagrees saying the cart isn't going before the horse.

"We're not looking to fund 100% of projects through the town," says Bjorkman. "We will wait for grants and apply for things in that sense, but we need to have the consultants plan in order to move forward."

Bjorkman says the consultant will help form the plan with input from residents and better position the town to receive grants.

"Part of this plan is to have consultations with our residents," says Bjorkman. "We want to hear from them. We want to hear from the business community. We want to hear from the people that live there. We want to hear from the people that visit there to see what is that they want from us, what will suit the Harrow and Colchester area best."

A similar streetscape plan was done in Essex Centre in 2013 focusing on the downtown core.