Community Improvement Plan moves forward without several programs
Downtown Windsor's Community Improvement Plan is moving forward, but not as originally planned.
Council decided to vote on nine items individually rather than approving the plan as a whole. The improvement plan outlines 39-recommendations with nine-different-incentive-programs to enact change in the core, but only five programs made the cut.
Mayor Drew Dilkens says council called the special meeting Friday afternoon to speed things along. He says close to $1-million in incentives will go a long way to revitalizing downtown Windsor.
"It changes the picture for them if the city's actually cutting a cheque or giving them a credit on charges with respect to residential development," says Dilkens.
Little Things Matter and Residential Micro Grants were voted down by council along with the Commercial Alley Enhancement Program.
Patrick Firth says the Glengarry Neighbourhood Renewal Initiative isn't happy with the move.
"The Little Things Matter Grant that didn't get voted through tonight is saying that might not be that important to them right now," he says.
Dilkens says the city won't be leaving these people behind.
There are provincial grants that already cover home improvements for low-income households, and council plans to incorporate some funding for yard improvements in ward-budgets city-wide rather than in the CIP.
"When you look at the micro-grant program for homeowners that were in the community improvement plan, council chose not to do that. It just seemed redundant," says Dilkens. "There's an option through the Ontario government that they fund that gives home owners with a low-income a chance to have a 10-year-forgivable-loan to replace the same types of items."
The Glengarry area has a high concentration of low-income households to accompany seniors, and residents with physical disabilities, according to Firth. He says they could use extra cash to beautify their yards sooner rather than later.
"Ontario Renovates isn't necessarily going to do that on its own. It's a good program, but it's not necessarily the same thing that would have been offered," he added.
Ward 3 councilor Rino Bortolin was visibly frustrated by the exclusion of the grants and alley improvement program. Bortolin has been heavily involved in the development of the plan.
He declined to comment on council's decision.