The Alliston Business Improvement Association (formerly the Alliston Downtown Improvement Area) was originally established by the Town of New Tecumseth in 1988 to help revitalize the downtown core of Alliston and to undertake promotional initiatives in support of the businesses within its boundaries.
In 2007 the boundaries were expanded to include the shopping district north of King Street and along Young Street to the town’s most westerly boundary, and in 2011 the boundaries expanded again to include the east end smart centre development.
The ABIA Board of Management is a local board of the municipality and is made up of business owners, an appointed council member, tenants and property owners from within the ABIA boundaries. These hard-working volunteers are elected and then appointed by Council for a four-year term.
The main role of the ABIA is revitalize and maintain a dynamic local neighbourhood and to promote the area as a business or shopping destination. While a major goal of revitalization is to encourage both local residents and others to spend their shopping dollars within the commercial district, all businesses and residents in the area may benefit as well.
Another important role for the ABIA is to develop a network of relationships and partnerships throughout the community. The ABIA works closely with the town Council and staff, the Chamber of Commerce, local community organizations and facilities such as the Gibson Centre for Community, Arts and Culture and the South Simcoe Arts Council as well as other business organizations from Beeton and Tottenham. It is through these partnerships that the ABIA is able to achieve many of its stated objectives.
Revitalization and maintenance often includes defining an identity for the local community. This identity is then used as a means to further promote the local community as an interesting and unique business area.
In some cases, the ABIA Board acts as a line of communication between the business community and New Tecumseth Council and often encourages Council to pursue policies and initiatives that will promote and strengthen the Alliston downtown and its unique identity. A great example of this is the Downtown Enhancement Master Plan undertaken by the town. This work was initiated as a result of the ABIA’s keen interest in developing a coordinated approach to downtown revitalization. The final outcome is the development of a downtown revitalization program for each New Tecumseth’s three downtown areas.