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URBA celebrates another successful year and proposes plan for next five years

As we draw closer to the end of 2022, the Uptown Rutland Business Association celebrates yet another successful year improving the local business district.

From adding four beautiful new murals to the district – which now boasts 22 stunning works of art and was recognized this spring from the Business Improvement Association of BC with a Merit Award for the project – to a highly successful marketing campaign that put the spotlight on the fantastic businesses of Rutland, URBA saw wins all across the board.

They want to keep that momentum going by building on the foundation they’ve created while continuing to invest in Rutland’s Urban Centre.

In late September, URBA proposed a five-year plan to city council to secure future funding. The presentation highlighted four main areas: office space, a contingency fund, beautification/ mural grants, and new revenue sources.

<who>Photo credit: URBA</who>Love Blossoms” by Tyler Toews (Rutland Thrift)

Office space

URBA has decided to close their current physical office and work remotely which will save approximately $23,000 per year.

Meetings will be held in various URBA members’ board rooms and at Rutland restaurants in an effort to showcase local businesses.

With a reasonable amount of new commercial space becoming available over the next couple of years, they anticipate those spaces will be filled with businesses that are currently located in older buildings. This will free up space for URBA to pursue those older locations.

<who>Photo credit: URBA</who> Business Improvement Association of BC Merit Award and Kelowna Chamber of Commerce Finalist plaque, both for Uptown Mural Project.

Contingency fund

Another long-term goal for the association is to build a contingency fund by setting aside a small portion of its revenue to cover unexpected costs, one-off projects and to support any other issues that may arise.

They plan to have a minimum of six months of operating costs set aside. These funds will go towards enhanced community safety initiatives and more murals and/or mural maintenance. They will also act as a savings fund so the association can re-establish a brick-and-mortar office once the real estate market cools off.

<who>Photo credit: URBA</who> Business Improvement Association of BC Merit Award and Kelowna Chamber of Commerce Finalist plaque, both for Uptown Mural Project.

Beautification/ mural grants

In order to build the contingency fund, the mural project budget will be reduced to $40,000 annually, around half of the existing budget unless grants are secured.

Moving forward, there will be a shift from mural production into added mural maintenance which includes an anti-graffiti coating for the most vulnerable murals. They will aim to paint two to three murals annually.

<who>Photo credit: URBA</who>“A Seat at the Table” by John Ross (MCC Thrift Store)

New revenue sources

URBA has two new revenue sources that are starting small and have the potential to grow.

Starting this fall, Associate Memberships will be introduced at an affordable price to businesses outside of the BIA’s boundary. This is a first step to see if there is a demand to expand URBA’s current boundaries.

The second revenue source is expanding mural merchandise sales by continuing to sell at the Visitor Centre downtown and also on the URBA website.

Current members of the business association will be receiving a package in the mail showing the accomplishments of the association along with their five-year plan.

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