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Heart of the City Community Improvement Program

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Disclaimer* - Please be aware that the applications are placed on the website to help facilitate the application process. However, we strongly urge the applicant to discuss and direct any questions you may have pertaining to the application to staff.

Cornwall's Heart of the City initiative was conceived in the early 2000's by the Cornwall & Area Chamber of Commerce which prepared the initial proposal and coined the descriptive phrase. Since that time, refined proposals were prepared and the community successfully captured a number of grants through Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs (OMAFRA'S Ontario Small Town and Rural Development (OSTAR) program.

The targeted areas for revitalization projects include the downtown core (Pitt Street and adjacent roadways) along with Le Village. Generally speaking, the initiative will focus on aesthetic improvements, and upgrading/renovation of commercial development and ancillary residential units.

Some of these areas have already seen aesthetic upgrades through a facade improvement initiative completed around 2000. Close to 25 storefronts along the Pitt Street Promenade had attractive facelifts resulting in an overall enhanced look to the street. An additional 20 businesses are planning a variety of renovations and upgrades in 2006 along with others which are planning facade improvements.

A significant breakthrough occurred in June 2006. Premier Dalton McGinty visited Cornwall and announced that the outstanding $3.7 million loan for Cornwall Square would be forgiven. The announcement was made in concert with a commitment from the City that the annual loan repayment of some $240,000 would be specifically directed to Heart of the City activities.

Heart of the City Programs

There are seven programs available through Heart of the City:

City of Cornwall Rehabilitation Grant (tax based) Program

A land owner is reimbursed part or all of the increase in municipal taxes paid as a result of improvements made to a building. For example, after improving a building, the owner's tax bill is increased. The grant allows for a reimbursement , on a sliding scale, in part or in full for up to 10 years (based upon each individual case).

Building Restoration & Improvement Program

A landowner receives a loan, either forgivable or, interest-free, to help with interior improvements to buildings for 50% of the total cost to a maximum of $30,000. For example, if a landowner spends $20,000 for renovations and heating system upgrades, the landowner would be eligible for a loan of $10,000.

Project Feasibility Study Grant

A landowner is provided a grant of 50% of the cost of such things as feasibility studies or concept drawings to a maximum of $7,500 . For example, a landowner invests $1,000 to have concept drawings prepared. Under the program, he or she would be eligible to a $500 grant.

Facade Improvement/Heritage Sign Grant

A grant can be available to assist with improvements to a building facade or, for new signage. Funding is based on 50% of the costs to a maximum of $10,000 for facade work and $2,000 for new signage. For example, if the cost is $24,000 to repair and replace the current facade, windows and door along with a new sign, the owner will receive a grant of $12,000.

Municipal Planning/Development Fees Grant

A landowner upgrading or re-developing a property can receive full reimbursement for such items as an Official Plan / Zoning Amendments and Building Permits.

Discretionary Municipal Tipping Fees Grant

A developer is given a reduction in the cost of dumping non-hazardous waste at the municipal landfill site. The grant is for 50% of the assigned fee with a total dollar amount as determined by the City.

Payment-in-Lieu of Parkland Dedication Grant

In specific city areas, commercial/industrial properties are required to provide land or cash-in-lieu of up to 2% of the commercial property value, or area (5% for residential projects) for Parland dedication. In this program, a developer can receive a rebate to put towards improvements such as landscaping, for example, a parkette.