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A Community Improvement Plan (CIP) is a planning tool that ties together economic development, infrastructure and planning. CIPs outline a community's plan to encourage improvements to key areas of the community such as a commercial main street, and they allow municipalities to provide financial incentives that promote revitalization and community improvement goals.
The typical focus of these plans is on the revitalization and improvement of the main street of a town, village or hamlet. CIPs can also touch on a wide range of related topics including green energy, brownfields, and recreational opportunities. They are in wide use across the province, from larger cities like Ottawa and Kingston to rural communities such as the Municipality of Trent Hills (villages of Campbellford, Warkworth and Hastings), the Town of Bancroft, and the City of Kawartha Lakes.
CIPs allow municipalities to provide grants and loans to owners and tenants, with the goal of supporting the improvement and rehabilitation of a targeted area. This can include projects such as improving the facade of a main street store and providing incentives to redevelop vacant properties. CIPs can also help to coordinate infrastructure and public space improvements, and can be used by municipalities to acquire, rehabilitate and dispose of land (e.g. a former industrial site).
Following the successful implementation of Community Improvement Plans (CIPs) in Verona, Sharbot Lake and Marysville, and an upcoming plan in North Frontenac, The County of Frontenac and The Township of South Frontenac have partnered together to initiate a CIP in the community of Harrowsmith. CIPs are a unique tool intended to help revitalize communities using locally-specific grants, loans and/or direct municipal investments. Previous CIPs in the County have targeted areas such as commercial façade improvements and accessibility upgrades, although each plan is tailored to best address the needs of the community.
The County of Frontenac will be seeking public input on the Harrowsmith CIP at an upcoming community workshop being held from 6-8 p.m. on April 13, at the Golden Links Hall (4186 Colebrooke Rd) in Harrowsmith.
Click here to visit the Facebook event page for the April 13, 2016 CIP workshop in Harrowsmith...
Residents and business owners are encouraged to come out and share their ideas for the revitalization of their community. What are the strengths and weaknesses of Harrowsmith? What are the best revitalization tools and who should qualify for funding? Be sure to save the date for the workshop and stay tuned to the Facebook event page and Twitter (use hashtag #harrowsmithcip ) for further details!
In order to best realize the benefits of a CIP in the County, the County prepared a background study in 2010 using a variety of criteria to determine which village or hamlet would be most appropriate for a Community Improvement Plan Pilot Project. These criteria included the planning policy framework, the community's form, the size of the residential and business communities, the availability of public land and amenities, and the support of businesses within the community for CIP-type initiatives.