New hope for vacant property

Darrell Cole
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Chamber seeks to develop former site of Petro Canada service station

AMHERST - A vacant piece of downtown real estate could get a facelift this summer.

The Amherst and Area Chamber of Commerce is hoping to work with a group of partners to spruce up the site of the former Petro Canada service station at the corner of Church and Albion streets.
"What we're looking at is anything from putting flower arrangements in there to perhaps an information kiosk that will help people looking for information on where to go in town," chamber president Randy Smith said Tuesday.
The former service station property has been empty for more than a decade with the garage boarded up and the perimeter fenced in. It's also something that has been targeted by the town for development as part of its beautification strategy.
Smith, who spoke to Amherst town council Monday about his organization's plans, said the property owner has given the chamber the go-ahead to try and develop something on the property and he said a committee has been struck to look for and work with partners to make something happen there.
"I see our role as that of a facilitator and a partner. It's not something we can do on our own. Essentially what we're looking for is for people to tell us what they want there," he said.
"It's available to us and it looks like we'll be able to go forward with it."
The chamber also looked at the former Ultramar property on the corner of Croft and Albion, but Smith said talks didn't progress very far.
The Petro Canada property would be an excellent location for something like a garden and/or information kiosk because it's practically at the centre of town, he noted.
Mayor Robert Small applauded the chamber's initiative, saying the former garage property is one of several that residents often complain about to council.
"I think it's a great idea. I hope they can make that work," the mayor said. "It's one of the things we hear about on a regular occurrence."
The mayor said the town would be interested in helping make the project a reality.

Organizations: Petro Canada, Area Chamber of Commerce, Amherst town council Ultramar

Geographic location: AMHERST, Croft

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Recent comments

  • Jon Spence
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    Such a park may attract an undesirable class of person and anti- social behaviours, but it could also be used by youth doing constructive activities, children and their parents and persons wishing for a place to go to enjoy some fresh air, read a book such as is often done at the Park on Bridge Street in Sackville, NB.

    However these potential negative issues could be mitigated against with proper supervision of the park by the local police service. This does not have to be big brother watching, but a casual walk through the park by the police and speaking with park users is a soft, but proactive way of community based policing that shows that the park is being supervised to promote the benefit and enjoyment for citizens that it should have.

  • Kim
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Great ideas !!!!!!

  • Fuzzy Bear
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Awesome idea.............that spot is a perfect location for a small sitting park. Add some flowers, landscaping, a few trees, benches and voila. For a town our size this should not be a major undertaking as this lot is not that large. Hey it may even add some much needed class to the downtown area as long as we don't let a Timmies open too nearby!

  • Gerard
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Maybe it can be like The Week the Women Left when it was in Tata and they builted thta beautiful park as a TEAM!

    Does anyone know anyone from that show or other erality shows in general?

  • Jon
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    I agree with Fuzzy Bear and Greg a sitting park would be a drastic improvement for the downtown area and would certainly restore some of the beauty to the area.

    A park for the kids could also be added here as the local youngsters like to use that area as a ball hockey area.

    Defintely a Starbucks would be better then a Tim Hortons if one is to be built nearby. Anything would be an improvement from its present appearance.

  • Greg
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    I agree Fuzzy Bear. We don't need a Tim Hortons there ... I'd rather see a Starbucks!

  • Grubz17
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Remember the sitting park that used to be downtown? Remember all of the complaints about it? Be careful what you wish for.