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New courthouse means downtown is becoming bigger

By Andrew Heliotis

Take a drive down Coleman Street Belleville and it’s hard to miss the brand new seven story consolidated courthouse.

As recently as two weeks ago, the street with the less than popular reputation just west of Front Street is going through a consolidation process of its own. What was once considered beyond the downtown is now becoming part of an expanded vision for the area. With the construction of the new Quinte Consolidated Courthouse at Bridge Street West and James Street, the notion of what is included is different.

Bill Saunders, CEO of Belleville’s Chamber of Commerce, says the height of the building  may be what Coleman Street needs to finally become part of downtown.

“It’s very exciting. The building itself is such a landmark…it essentially marks the entrance to the city from the south,” Saunders said.

The new courthouse is a catalyst for additional development, according to business owners on Coleman Street.

Christopher J Ward, a licensed Paralegal and owner of Highway Enforcement legal Protection (HELPLegal), moved his practice to Coleman Street when the idea of a consolidated courthouse first arose.

The proximity to the courthouse was meant to help his practice in a big way.

“My business plan included the fact that the court house would be just a few hundred yards from my front step. It’s (Quinte Consolidated Courthouse) accessible to the public; which was part of the reason I wanted to be here,” says Ward

After purchasing the entire building, Ward began a remodel process of his own.

Ward took steps to spruce up 225 Coleman.

He changed the signage at the front of his office, rebuilt his porch and added a mulch garden to make his building more aesthetically pleasing. It’s a trend he says is not uncommon to see in the area now.

“A gentleman in the area owns a few buildings he is renovating and when you drive down Coleman your starting to see industry,” he said.

JFP Automotive is the newest business to open shop on the street.

It’s been two months since Joel Fallaise opened his high performance shop on the increasingly bustling heart of Coleman Street and says that he is happily swamped with business. Living just three blocks from JFP, Fallaise has noticed something similar to Ward.

“Coleman during the day is a busy place now. A lot of our business has been coming from just walk-ins,” said Fallaise.

Ryan Laliberte, Marketing And Promotions Manager, believes the traffic influx of the new courthouse will be sure to draw in passerby’s

“If no one knows your in business its hard to get any business. Everybody loves convenience. It’s centrally located in the downtown core which has been advantageous from a marketing perspective,” Laliberte said.

Letting people know about JFP was a big reason why the shop experienced a similar renovation to HELPLegal.

Just by doing small things to dress up the JFP Automotive, like Help legal and the courthouse, venture down Coleman and it’s hard to consider this street as “just west of downtown”, he added.