Improvement projects well received by Parrsboro

Andrew Wagstaff
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Wedding destination, artist outreach, CIB among highlights

Parrsboro project facilitator Taylor Redmond addresses the packed crowd at the Parrsboro Fire Hall on March 12, where a number of improvement projects for the community were introduced and discussed.

PARRSBORO – Don’t let the empty storefronts fool you. There is plenty going on in this town.

A number of town improvement projects were introduced to an enthusiastic crowd packed into the Parrsboro Fire Hall at a public meeting on March 12, setting the stage for a busy year ahead in community development.

Led by Taylor Redmond, recently hired by the town as a project facilitator, the presentation featured several projects she is working on, including the marketing of Parrsboro as a wedding destination, and the decorating of Main Street with floral pallets and “age of sail” signage.

The meeting also included presentations from Bruce Graham on Parrsboro Creative, a new initiative aimed at attracting artists to set up shop in the community, and from Communities in Bloom volunteers Donna Hanna and Dawn McCully on the revival of Parrsboro’s participation in that development.

“Part of my objective is to do something now,” said Redmond, referring particularly to the recent closure of Main Street businesses Castle and Bare Bones Bistro. “It’s really a shame what we’ve lost, and we can’t afford to lose one more thing. What I’m trying to do with this project is assist businesses that are already here, and services that are already here – get some business in their pockets.”

Part of the wedding destination project will see the establishment of a website and other promotional tools to offer country wedding packages. The first step of that is to take inventory of what the community offers now in that area, and will include everyone contributing to a contest that will offer a free wedding in 2014.

“To pull it off, everyone has to put something in the pot,” she said.

The Communities in Bloom effort aims to pick up where Mary McPhee and a team of volunteers left off a few years ago – an effort that saw Parrsboro receive four of five blooms in one year. The national program builds community pride and spirit with beautification, development of green spaces, cleanup efforts and much more.

“We have a lot to live up to so hopefully we will pull this together with Taylor’s projects and everything,” said McCully. “I think the two projects will complement each other.”

Graham’s project, which he announced aims to “try and repopulate Parrsboro as an arts community,” was well received by the crowd.

“What I’m hearing from you, and Taylor before, is music to my ears,” said Sandy Graham, one of the audience members. “At this point, baby steps are just fine. I think we’re moving in the right direction, and the consensus is that these things have to be done. People are coming together, taking initiative and taking us forward together, reaching out. It’s wonderful.”

Concerns were also raised with regard to the potential for vandalism with decorative efforts such as the pallet project, and with unsightly premises both within town and particularly at the approaches outside of town limits.

Many of the projects will require public participation in order to be successful, it was explained. Redmond is seeking feedback on her ideas, and written submissions can be dropped off for her at town hall, and the Communities in Bloom team is seeking volunteers for its efforts, which are broken up into several committees.

Geographic location: Parrsboro

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Recent comments

  • Suzanne Burchell
    June 19, 2013 - 21:53

    My home town of Parrsboro is a paradise that needs some TLC. Last summer I gardened around the bandstand and weeded Main was a labour of genuine love - then I had to return to Ontario before finishing . There is potential that Taylor has always seen in Parrsboro - her gallery was incredible. Time now for citizens to believe that one individual giving a little time and effort can make a huge difference.Please volunteer a day or 2 and help paint or garden and improve dear wonderful Parrsboro. Sorry I cannot come home this summer or I would be out working everyday to help make a difference. Suzanne Barteaux - Burchell

  • harvey lev
    March 19, 2013 - 00:17

    If Parrsboro is to survive, the emphasis should be to bring interesting new business to the town. Parrsboro main street is 50% vacant in summer and 75% vacant in winter. The town's teenagers have been promised skateboard parks and a water park etc. Promises that were not kept and the youth of the town sit bored on Main Street in plain view smoking and eating junk food. There is not a place to get a wholesome meal, a loaf of real bread , a pair of shoes or a room to sleep from November to April etc.etc. anywhere within walking distance of Main Street. It will be an impossible task to bring people to live in a town without these very basic services. The plans to dress Main Street as another tired maritime town, complete with images of lighthouses, schooners and other nostalgia will not do it. Parrsboro is an extra-ordinary rich place. The beaches are fabulous, the countryside gorgeous. The town must accent it's strengths and work towards drawing people to both visit and come and live here. Efforts should be made to advertise the natural richness of the area (Newfoundland runs ads throughout Central Canada And the USA just showing a few photos with great success) . A major effort to have a ferry service to draw the traffic through Parrsboro to cross the Minas basin is essential. Everyone driving from the west to the Annapolis Valley and Digby etc will think to use it . and it would serve to connect Parrsboro to the University and the other towns of the minas basin just a few km away. This is a must if Parrsboro wants to prosper from the investments in Tidal power. The only way to revitalize Parrsboro is to make it a different place. A place that offers a different experiance. The town must develop a different view. All of small town Canada is in decline and only those towns that make the effort to be different will prosper

    • Glen
      April 01, 2013 - 10:07

      As a visitor to this area and business man a few pointers: Ferry Service, is this a serious idea? It should be. What in the way of campgrounds do you have and are they advertised nationally? Internationally? Besides Tim Horton's, is there a bakery in town? What are the commercial tax rates like?

    • Garfield Strong
      April 12, 2013 - 19:02

      Harvey..that was one of the best commentaries i have read yet on what the Parrsboro region really needs. On a grass routes level I read about and see many individuals coming up with great ideas locally. This combined with a well built business plan (including a link across the Minus Basin) is essential. I live in Advocate but am willing to help any way I can..

  • Barb Amon
    March 15, 2013 - 19:52

    Hi Taylor. My husband, Del, and I are currently away for the winter but I have to say that we feel very positive about your appointment and what we hope it will produce for our town. I have been in touch with Donna Hanna, who is a very good friend, and also applaud her involvement in Communities In Bloom. When we return home I'll be happy to assist the projects in any way I can. In the meantime may I suggest that if funds are scarce that the Main St. plantings each be very bountiful rather than plentiful. Also I'd like to suggest that "some" buildings on Main St. are very much in need of paint and would like to encourage owners to spruce up their sites. Would it be possible to strike a deal with a paint company in that they supply product at a discount in return for some recognition? Also, there was mention made of "bang for your buck plantings" - is there a list of this plant material? Thanks so very much for your efforts and I wish you all the best of luck and do hope the citizens will finally come together to save our town which could rival Mahone Bay whose slogan is "We love the beauty around us and invite you to share it". Barb Amon 274 Pier Rd. Parrsboro.

  • Michelle Gilbert
    March 14, 2013 - 13:07

    As a summer resident of Parrsboro it is very heartening to see that there is a plan to move forward to make Parrsboro a more inviting place not only to live but for tourist to visit. I know money is tight but I hope that the smell from the aboiteau will be addressed as it is a big turn off especially in the hot weather when the tide is out. I look forward to hearing and seeing the results of the ideas put forward at the recent meeting.