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Upcoming town hall to focus on driving tourism to downtown Windsor

Local businessman Brian Schwab and his group have invested into the future of the city core.

“Pretty important to the entire city and a larger audience that downtown is as good as it can be,” said Schwab.

An effort is being made by Ward 3 Coun. Renaldo Agostino to set the downtown on a path to success. He is planning a town hall Wednesday focusing on the hospitality and tourism industry.

“There's a lot of bright minds and I want to get all those minds together so we can have a frank discussion on the direction that we're going in moving forward post-COVID,” said Agostino.

Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island CEO Gordon Orr would like the downtown to thrive.

“We know when the downtown is thriving that our entire industry is going to be better off for it,” he said.

Orr says there are signs the tourism industry is starting to rebound post pandemic.

“Our hotel occupancy year over year is up 18 points over last year,” he said. “April alone was up 26 per cent and our occupancy sits at about 62 per cent right now.”

Agostino wants American visitors to be part of the rebound.

“This is a great opportunity to re-establish those ties and it's going to take us to extend the olive branch to Michigan to say hey, we're still here,” said Agostino. “Come on back. COVID is over.”

Schwab is interested in attending the town hall and has some suggestions.

“I think the property owners downtown have to take some responsibility and do things to improve their properties,” he said. “It allows downtown to be clean, beautiful and safe.”

Schwab and his group own properties downtown and have improved lighting and security and invested in activating alley's that otherwise would be a haven for blight.

He also suggests the city eliminate boarding of empty businesses and encourages increased security measures.

“Can we do things downtown to make the presence of law enforcement more visible?” Schwab said.

Agostino adds, “Everyone who has skin in the game should have a voice and those voices are gonna be heard here on Wednesday night and I hope that's what will get people motivated to really step up and step forward to make a better downtown for all of us.” Top Stories

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