Downtown Improvement Plan
Downtown Improvement Plan 2022 approved by Council
For the last 5 months, I have been privileged to participate in a community focus group led by the City of Kingston CAO, Lanie Hurdle to address a few specific challenges in the downtown core. The focus group was made up of a number of leaders in the social services sector, City of Kingston staff, the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Kingston, as well as myself.
The topics discussed were:
- Care of the vulnerable in the downtown core, the challenges that have been amplified by COVID, and the effects on downtown businesses, their employees, and their customers.
- Increase in garbage and lack of cleanliness in the downtown core
- Lack of community space
A report was presented to Council last night with the following recommendations:
- That Council endorse the short and medium-term Downtown Improvement Plan recommendations included in Exhibit A of Report Number 22-080; and
- That Council approve up to $150,000 from the Social Services Stabilization Fund to support the addition of two (2) one-year Outreach Workers within the existing Street Outreach Program operated by Home Base Housing, to be dedicated to the City’s downtown area; and
- That Council approve up to $200,000 from the Social Services Stabilization Fund to extend the operations of the “Warming Centre” located at 218 Concession Street, in partnership with United Way, Lionhearts and Home Base Housing, for a period of three (3) months, until the end of June 2022 to allow time for homeless and housing services to stabilize; and
- That Council approve up to $100,000 from the Working Fund Reserve to cover the costs of equipment and beautification material to improve cleanliness downtown; and
- That Council direct staff to report back to Council by March 2023 with information on progress and outcome of the Downtown Improvement Plan recommendations.
Megan Knott, Executive Director of Tourism Kingston, and I as well as Bhavana Varma, President and CEO of The United Way of Kingston presented delegations. After a few questions from councilors, all 5 recommendations were passed unanimously.
This is a good news story for downtown Kingston BIA, its members and stakeholders, and the broader community. With these recommendations approved, we, alongside our partners, can begin to tackle some of the most challenging issues facing us currently in the downtown core.
Thank you to Lanie Hurdle for her leadership, mentorship, and support, as well as every other person who put time and effort into this project.
To read the full report Click Here