Project gets green light
Downtown Vernon’s facelift is back on track.
Just two days after revitalization of 30th Avenue, from 33rd to 35th streets, was on the verge of being shelved, council voted 5-1 Wednesday to issue the construction tender and boost the budget by $284,165 to $2.4 million.
“It’s a great block with great merchants and property owners who have worked together to make this happen,” said Coun. Patrick Nicol.
A special meeting had to be held Wednesday after a motion to increase the budget died during a tie vote at Monday’s regular council meeting. The tie resulted after Coun. Mary-Jo O’Keefe declared a conflict of interest because her family owns land there.
Coun. Catherine Lord switched her vote Wednesday after having assurances the extra money needed for the project wouldn’t come from other required works in the community.
“I want to make sure we weren’t touching on things where we were repairing infrastructure,” he said.
Coun. Juliette Cunningham continues to have reservations because the funding formula for this project is different than merchants elsewhere on 30th Avenue experienced. But she ultimately raised her hand in support.
“Maybe this will spur further investment in our downtown,” she said.
Lone opposition came from Coun. Bob Spiers.
“I think it’s a project that is unnecessary and adds to our structural deficit,” he said.
Both the city and property owners in the two blocks are funding the project, which will include underground utility work, road reconstruction and decorative features such as lights, benches and trees.
The city hopes the project will be completed by the summer tourism season.