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'More people, more businesses': Many back revitalization plan

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Rhys Trenhaile has faith city council will push the Strengthen the Core plan through on May 13, “You would hope it's a no-brainer.”

Part of the plan to revitalize downtown Windsor includes enforcing property standards and filling vacant buildings.

“We all need a thriving downtown,” said entrepreneur Ray Blanchard. “It is the centre of the city and it's exactly what people see when they come and go from Detroit.”

Downtown BIA Chair Chris McLeod feels people can fix downtown, “More people, more businesses. More businesses, more people.”

To attract more people, the city is looking at offering financial incentives to existing and prospective business owners, increase financial penalties for unkept properties, and appoint a dedicated by-law property standards enforcement officer in Ward 3.

“If we're going to look at behaviour downtown, we're going to say, ‘You know what, we're going to get what we tolerate.’ That's on the human behaviour side but it's also on the property standard side,” said Mayor Drew Dilkens.

Urban development is an important part of strengthening the core and there are a lot of projects on the go or in the works with that in mind. The city is exploring the possibility of a public list of properties that have orders against them and making the grant application an easier process.

“If we want investors to put their hard earned money into downtown, we need to not have their money at risk like it is today. This program is about changing the risk/reward downtown,” McLeod said.

Trenhaile is working on bringing more people to the core through various projects, “Having permanent police presence dedicated to the downtown core, it works hand in hand, especially with all the security they're announcing. Perfect. It's like peanut butter and jelly.”

Dilkens added, “We can't see the success we hope to see unless we move forward in a way that looks at the human behaviours, looks at the building enforcement and by-law standards that we have and look at how we can make a difference to strengthen the core. That's what this is all about.”

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