SDG getting ready to roll out new Community Improvement Plan fund

A real life example of a renovation completed with matching funds from the Community Improvement Plan in North Dundas.(Supplied photos)

MORRISBURG – As a lead up to the pending roll out of its Community Improvement Plan funding opportunity, the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry hosted a series of six consultation sessions that wrapped up here in Morrisburg March 8th.

About 20 people consisting of SDG and South Dundas officials, council and a handful of business and business organization representatives attended the breakfast meeting at the McIntosh Inn.

Tim Simpson, SDG chief administrative officer, who led all of the meetings, said that each attracted a similar-sized crowd.

The counties presented the details of its Community Improvement Plan that will have $100,000 available to area commercial, industrial and institutional property improvement projects later this year.

The purpose of the consultation sessions was to get feedback on the counties CIP plan proposal which is intended to foster regional/local economic development.

The SDG CIP money will only be available in municipalities that have their own Community Improvement Plans in place.

While South Dundas does not yet have its own CIP in place, staff is working towards one, with the aim to roll out its plan about the same time that the counties launches its program.
Simpson describes the Counties CIP as a framework that can be dropped into local CIPs to make funds available to stimulate economic development and community revitalization through financial incentive.

SDG’s CIP strategy is to support regional economic development through proposed funding streams which include: agriculture value-added and facility improvement projects; brownfield redevelopment; re-purposing commercial, institutional and industrial buildings; and, development of roofed accommodations within the rural areas of SDG. Roofed accommodations include bed and breakfasts and are essentially anything that is not a tent or a campsite.

County officials are now in the process of determining eligibility criteria and ironing out the details of the intake process.

The goal is to have the SDG CIP ready for review and council approval by late spring.

Simpson is aiming to keep the application process as simple and seamless and local as possible.

It will likely provide 50 per cent funding grants for selected projects and may even provide interest free loans to successful applicants.

“Our ultimate goal is to have the CIP money available in Summer 2018,” he said.

Simpson acknowledged that the initial $100,000 allocation, “is not a lot,” and that he expects that the demand will far exceed the funds available.

The CIP will be reviewed after a year, and that amount will likely be increased, with council’s approval, in future years.

South Dundas economic development officer Rob Hunter agreed that the $100,00 is likely to be over-subscribed for this year.

“But, just because it’s a small plan, doesn’t mean that it can’t be impactful.”

As an example he pointed to a CIP improvement project in Winchester through which an investment of only $8,000 resulted in a marked improvement to a small business’ curbside appeal. Of that, $4,000 came from the local CIP fund which North Dundas has, matching the owner’s $4,000 investment.

Anyone who was unable to attend this morning’s meeting can find the presentation and a survey on the counties website sdgcounties.ca