A public meeting was held on September 19th at City Hall for amendments to The Downtown and Community Renewal Community Improvement Plan and Project with citizens approval.
The changes were proposed by Alan Waterfield and Hazel Milsome, of the Urban Renewal committee. What they proposed were amendments for many businesses and communities within Hamilton and the amalgamated areas.
Citizens and business owners who attended voiced few concerns over the proposed amendments.
The changes aim to rehabilitate and revitalize land and buildings within targeted areas of the city. The plan provides greater initiatives for small businesses, heritage buildings and potential business investments.
Waterfield says the committee does not expect approval from city council until early 2012.
The program is currently working with a 20 million dollar budget and is hoping to see the budget expand to 40 million. Milsome said this will not be an issue.
“The idea behind our proposals is to bring in more tax revenue,” said Milsome, with optimism that changes to the program will succeed.
The committee plans to expand the downtown Business Improvement Area (BIA) zone, covering areas further outside the core of the city. Six current incentive programs could be modified.
Amendments include loan extensions to heritage buildings, extended deadlines for property improvement loans, more lenient requirements for loan spending on commercial developments, and grants for facade face-lifts of up to $25,000 on new businesses.
The facade upgrades will help give the downtown a facelift, boost property value, and entice businesses to move into active Business Initiative Areas of Hamilton says Waterfield.
The amendments are just in the first phase of the approval process and Waterfield says there is “always room for improvement”.