Windsor is seriously in need of a make-over throughout the entire city. Efforts are being made to do just that. Financial incentives are being offered to business owners and investors through the Economic Revitalization Community Improvement Plan (CIP). It’s not limited to any one area but, the downtown core and the manufacturing sector are the top priorities for the most part.
With Windsor being a border city, with the United States on the other side, it is one of the busiest and most important border crossings there is. Thousands of people cross the border both ways for tourism and the transport of goods.
Windsor relies greatly on the manufacturing sector, it tops the list. It also relies on health care, education, retail, accommodation, and food services. Followed by many smaller sectors. The manufacturing sector experienced a huge loss from the most recent global recessions. Many jobs were lost or wages were cut in an effort to save money and to keep manufacturing companies in Windsor. Unfortunately, manufacturing companies were lost to other countries as it was determined it would be a cheaper route to take. Luckily, other companies were able to upgrade and expand with the decision to be able to stay in the city.
Diversification of the manufacturing sector and the overall economy will play a big role to strengthen Windsor’s local economy and give hope to stop downfalls in the future. The diversity of Windsor’s economy will help create more jobs in industries such as warehousing, logistics, professional services, media, tourism, education, health science, and many more opportunities. This diversification will help established manufacturing sectors create jobs in advanced manufacturing such as health care, renewable energy, and aerospace.
The Windsor Essex Economic Development Corporation (WEEDC) is responsible for attracting economic development to the Windsor-Essex region. Their goal is to attract new businesses, strengthen and diversify existing businesses, maintain an attractive environment for business and the economy with the government and community groups. Lastly, they promote the city as a desirable place to invest and live.
To reach these goals, WEEDC must concentrate on delivering strategy development, regional branding, and data collection services. They must also make an effort to target key industries, create and maintain cross-border relationships, cultivate an excellent quality of life and lead the development of a world-class infrastructure. These are just a few examples and the CIP directly supports them. Every effort is also made to align the City’s efforts with those of the Windsor Essex Economic Development Program.
Grants are available to help develop, expand business and to invest and create small businesses.
Revitalization of Windsor’s downtown core is another project that the city is working on. The main goal is to make it more desirable to residents and to attract tourists. The idea is to create new businesses and improve the overall appearance of the area. Although, other corridors, communities and other areas in decline are included too.
The Economic Revitalization Community Improvement Plan will encourage investors to establish and maintain businesses, create new and maintain jobs, and provide goods and services to the public in the downtown area. More people are utilizing downtown with the addition of the St. Clair College campus and, the University campus that is due to be built. The area is already populated with what some say, is an overkill of bars and nightclubs. A variety of restaurants are also available with new ones continuing to open.
The city hopes to attract more retail stores and service industries. Clothing stores are slowly moving back into the downtown area and a new medical center is being built. It’s been suggested that small businesses like a butcher, bakery or a small grocery store be opened for the residents of the many apartment buildings that populate the area.
Repairs to buildings and sidewalks will be done as well as, trees, shrubbery, and plants. Improvements will be made to the parks along the riverfront to welcome tourists as Windsor becomes a port for an increased number of cruise ships that will be stopping here. The revitalization project is expected to also impact the many festivals and events that take place downtown. New businesses and the current ones will benefit from these activities in a positive way and, the city will benefit from the economic growth from people shopping, eating and supporting businesses in the downtown area.
The Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association (DWBIA) implemented a Commercial Rent Subsidy Program (CRSP). This program is to encourage up to eight businesses per year to fill unoccupied buildings downtown. The DWBIA will contribute 50% of the rent for a building to a successful applicant for a year, up to $625/month. Applicants must represent the commercial sector and be in an eligible business category.
These grants and rent subsidies are the keys to a safe and profitable future for the City of Windsor. If you or someone you know is interested in a grant or rent subsidy program, contact the city or visit the city’s website for more information and online forms.
CIP, CRSP, downtown Windsor, DWBIA, grants, manufacturing, rent subsidy, revitalization, small business, WEEDC, Windsor Ontario