Union Street is getting a big cash injection as part of the campaign to improve Aberdeen city centre.
Humza Yousaf told the Press and Journal he will spend £400,000, essentially doubling a pot of cash to brush-up the historic thoroughfare.
Businessman Bob Keiller, who fronts the Our Union Street initiative, thinks improvements locally can help the whole of Scotland.
“Our Union Street has harnessed ideas and people power of thousands of Aberdonians to help focus minds and transform our city centre for the better,” he said.
“We’re absolutely delighted to now have the Scottish Government at our back — with the sort of support that can help to bring those ambitions to reality.
“It’s an investment in our city that will reap rewards and create a positive lasting legacy.
“Reimagining and reinvigorating high streets is a Scotland-wide challenge and we hope that the plan of action we’re developing here in Aberdeen can have nationwide potential to help transform more towns and cities.”
Mr Keiller, a former chief executive of Aberdeen-based engineering firm Wood, hopes to put a rocket under efforts to put Union Street back on the map nationally.
The high street has suffered in recent years and many shops are vacant.
He knows it’s a big challenge.
But the first minister hopes to push the campaign along.
Speaking to the P&J before his set-piece speech to conference today, he said Aberdeen is the powerhouse of the UK economy and deserves a world-class high street.
‘Aberdeen powers the UK’
“Aberdeen literally powers the economy not just of Scotland, but the whole of the UK,” he said.
“The SNP’s ambition is to turn Aberdeen into the Net Zero capital of Europe.
“And like all capitals, the city deserves a high street it can be proud of.
“So I’m delighted to confirm that the SNP Government will fund the Our Union Street campaign with £400,000 of support to help give this iconic street a fresh lease of life.
“Another SNP down-payment in Aberdeen’s bright future.”
Mr Yousaf will restate the commitment in his speech at the P&J Live venue today.
The SNP leader is hoping to cement his place among the party’s supporters one day after they gave Nicola Sturgeon a big send-off.
Ms Sturgeon appeared in the hall yesterday, attracting attention while Mr Yousaf hopes to keep focus on his leadership.