Dartmouth business leaders are planning to bring the bustle back to downtown Dartmouth. With the investment of a $7,500 grant, the Nova Scotia Office of Economic Development is partnering in a study to plan upgrades to business facades on Portland Street. Sprucing up the downtown core will attract more people to existing trendy eateries, fashionable boutiques and refurbished housing while encouraging even more growth on the street. “The province is supporting a project that builds pride and energizes an entire downtown core,” Economic Development Minister Ernest Fage said today, Nov. 3. “The new plan will boost the area’s appeal as an inviting place to visit, work, and live.” Portland Street is one of the areas identified by the Halifax Regional Municipality Capital District Task Force that will benefit from a facade improvement program to encourage property owners to invest in the appearance of their buildings. “The nearby community college will soon be completed and will increase the need for services for 2,000 students and faculty,” said Tim Olive, executive director of the Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission. “Once Phase I is completed and a common vision approved, we can put the plan into action and add value to this area of mixed residential and business properties and its growing population.” The Office of Economic Development is contributing to the project under its community economic development funding program. Other partners in the $50,000 study are the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and the Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission. Once the Phase I planning and marketing study is completed early in the new year, the development commission will embark on the implementation process, expected to be completed in 2008.