New ‘Re-Inventing chair named

Susan Bodnarchuk is the new chair of the “Re-Inventing Fort Frances” committee following a meeting earlier this week to choose a replacement for former chair Janis Lesko.
“I accepted the position,” Bodnarchuk said Thursday. “We went through the nomination process but no one else stepped up.
“I’m definitely looking to keep moving forward. I’ve got an excellent group of people on the committee,” she added.
Tammi Shoemaker will fill Bodnarchuk’s former position as secretary.
The “Re-Inventing” committee, which was formed last summer, also consists of vice-chair Sam Woods of Ranier, Gord Winik, Dan Cousineau, Larry Zyrovy, Jean-Marc Blanc, Jane Johnstone, Mayor Glenn Witherspoon, CAO Bill Naturkach, Geoff Gillon, and Ted DeBenetti.
Bodnarchuk said the group hasn’t been slowing down, with consultant Hilderman, Thomas, Frank and Cram continuing to undertake an almost $110,000 feasibility study to see how the town can be improved in terms of tourism and commerce.
“We’ve compiled the ballots from the suggestion boxes we had at various places around town and turned them over to the consultant so they can see what people here have to say,” she noted.
Bodnarchuk said the roughly 200 suggestions were divided into four categories: tourism, history, shopping, and a town mascot.
The public also will get a chance to have their say when one or more open meetings are held later this fall. The exact dates have yet to be confirmed.
As previously reported, one of the projects the “Re-Inventing” group would like to see is a large “fort” structure located as a gateway to the downtown area.
It would house multiple services to visitors, such as Ontario tourism services, a duty-free and Canadian products shop, a fish and wildlife museum, a currency exchange, and the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce.
Concepts for renovating old Fort Frances High School on First Street East, the old CN station on Fourth Street West, and other local historical structures also are being discussed by the committee.
There also are plans for developing additional heritage art and statuary attractions for young people, a comprehensive parking and traffic plan for the downtown area, and landing more industry here.