The Downtown Winnipeg BIZ celebrated the organization’s many accomplishments this year during its 26th annual general meeting on Monday.
Executive director Stefano Grande outlined the progress made in revitalizing the city’s downtown and previewed several new initiatives for 2015.
“This year has been a time of growth and of recommitment to our downtown,” Grande said. “The most important elements of what we do to improve our downtown relates to safety, cleanliness, marketing, and lots of events and activities that engage Winnipeggers.”
Grande said a priority for the BIZ is to champion important issues like creating more density, prompting great urban design and mixed-use buildings, rapid transit, challenging urban sprawl.
“We measure our results, reassess and continue moving forward. We are passionate, relentless and love our downtown and the only thing we truly fear is not meeting the high expectations of our members and the public.”
To kick off 2015, the BIZ is launching a downtown marketing campaign called #finditdowntown, rewarding Winnipeggers with prizes for every photo posted on social media. 3,000 key chains will give lucky Winnipeggers priority access to unique discounts and experiences from participating businesses.
The BIZ will also relocate the large marble art pieces on Portage Avenue to other downtown locations to act as welcoming beacons to core entrances as part of a visual refresh.
A greater emphasis will also be made on the winter months, with the launch of patio tours to take advantage of the chilly weather that citizens on the prairies love to embrace.
The continuation of the Launch It program will also encourage young entrepreneurs and small business owners to invest in downtown. This program provides entrepreneurs with rent-free space, a clearinghouse of relevant entrepreneurial resources and tools, connection to friendly downtown brokers/realtors, and tours of downtown space opportunities.
The Downtown BIZ projects an expenditure increase to $3.9 million in 2015 from $3.6 million this year. It also came under budget by roughly $80,000 for the 2013 financial year.