Previous Downtown Community Improvement Plan (C.I.P.) grants and loans were aimed at improvements in facades and roof improvements but for 2018, with a $150K budget, the scope is expected to expand to include “refurbishment of the upper floors of downtown buildings”. Many of the existing downtown buildings have upper floors intended as apartments but many are in a poor state of repair so have been empty for years. In addition, instead of two intakes, there will be only one with a deadline of July 13, 2018 and approval (or not) by Council by August 13. A single intake in July allows more time for applicants to “obtain relevant information, complete design work, secure quotes and obtain necessary approvals” as well as allowing staff more time to publicize the program and process applications.
History of Downtown C.I.P.
|2016||2017||2018 – from
Expanded Criteria for Project Selection
Subject to approval by Council at their C.O.W. meeting on April 23 and the regular meeting on April 30, Heritage Planner Dave Johnson proposes that the 2018 CIP program will:
“…..have a greater focus on larger improvement projects, including but not limited to such projects that feature intensification and/or refurbishment of the upper floors of downtown buildings resulting in new or improved residential dwelling units and/or commercial space, and/or for projects that involve securing a landmark or anchor business, such as a bank or grocery store.
“A larger project focus would also allow for more resources to be targeted at major building improvements. Therefore, a larger proportion of available funds are proposed to be dedicated to one or more “significant” projects such as noted above and a smaller allocation of available funds would be directed to less significant exterior cosmetic alterations (i.e. roof work, façade improvements).”
The photo at top right is of a store that has been closed for some time and has unused accommodation above. Note that the total cost of required renovations is significantly more than grant/loan amounts but the Town’s (taxpayers’) contribution could be enough to cause the landlord to decide to renovate.
To make sure all the Downtown businesses are aware of the program and know that they are encouraged to apply, a marketing campaign is planned using newspaper ads, the Town’s website, and social media. In addition a brochure/flyer summarizing the C.I.P. program will be mailed out and the DBIA will be asked to help get the word out.
Maybe with this expanded program plus the removal of the tax break for empty stores, we might see a ramp-up in downtown store/building renovations.
- Community Improvement Plan 2017 Second Intake – 24 August 2017
- Six new CIP projects for Downtown – 7 May 2017
- Report on CIP – 27 November 2016 – describes the multiple programs that together are the C.I.P.
- Public Meeting vacant Property Tax Rebate – 23 March 2018 – includes update that rebate abolition was approved by County Council
- Memo from Dave Johnson