The Town of Fort Erie is excited to announce the start-up of their new Community Improvement Plans (CIP’s) and financial incentive programs for the Downtown Core Areas of Bridgeburg and Ridgeway. Town Council approved a By-law at last night’s meeting to establish how the Plans will be implemented and made available to eligible building and business owners who are interested in making improvements to the structures in these downtowns.
Three programs have been structured that will offer matching grants (up to set limits) for improvements such as Façade Improvement, Commercial Signage and Residential Creation and Intensification. The Town is leveraging the available funding by tapping into Niagara Region’s “Smarter Niagara Incentive Programs” that provide percentage matching on the programs approved by Town Council.
All properties must be within a defined boundary and must also be zoned for Core Mixed Use or Commercial uses. The financial incentives are delivered in the form of a single grant once the project has been completed and all agreed upon terms and conditions have been met. Interested participants must go through an application process with the Town in order to be considered for approval.
The Town’s Neighbourhood Planner, Chris Millar, who will be the first point of contact for potential applicants said, “Our goal was to make this process user-friendly. We’ve designed an application guide that is straight forward and self explanatory. I would encourage anyone considering these programs to take a look at the guide.” Mr. Millar is optimistic uptake on the programs will be brisk, given the amount of people who have attended meetings and made preliminary calls and inquiries.
Town Council has been very supportive of the intiatives from the beginning, when the programs were first being proposed. Councillor Hill was very pleased with the Plan’s implementation, noting that “Downtown Ridgeway has put considerable effort into maintaining its historic charm. It is programs such as the CIP that will build and foster a positive relationship as property owners and businesses further invest into the character and charm of the downtown core through CIP funding.”
Councillor Passero was equally excited about the new programs. “Our downtowns remain focal points within our communities and as a Council we need to make sure they remain a strong part of the social and cultural fabric of our society. Implementing the programs is a pro-active step to assist property and business owners in Downtown Bridgeburg to work together to enhance and strengthen our core, reinforce the unique commercial shopping experience and enhance Bridgeburg’s destination standing for both residents and tourists alike.”
Information about the Downtown Core Area CIP’s can be found on the Town’s website at www.forterie.on.ca. A link under “Announcements” will take you to the page containing all the details and program information.
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