Grants Available To Colchester Businesses Now

Essex Councillor Steve Bjorkman attends the regular meeting of council on August 22, 2016. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

The Town of Essex is opening up its Community Improvement Plan to include businesses in Colchester.

The town did have separate CIPs for Essex Centre and Harrow, but Councillor Steve Bjorkman says the money has been pooled and the program expanded now that a couple of new shops are opening up in Colchester.

“We wanted to give them the opportunity to benefit the same as the other businesses,” he says.

Bjorkman says around ten businesses in Essex Centre have applied for grants to fix up their facades and do other small projects. In Harrow, he believes four or five have taken advantage of the program.

“I think everybody in the greater town of Essex benefits. The more we can improve our business centres, the more people will come,” says Bjorkman. “The rising tide floats all boats.”

Bjorkman says another sign of the CIP’s success is the fact residents are noticing the change too, especially in Essex Centre.

“The facades are the biggest change,” he says. “Instead of having an old clapboard front, we’ve got nice stucco fronts. We’ve got glass fronts. We’ve got new paint [and] signs.”

Town council passed the change at its meeting Monday night.

– With files from Maureen Revait