City launches new Core Areas Community Improvement Plan

Posted on Thursday August 05, 2021

Grant funding aimed at stimulating private sector investment in our core areas

Cambridge, Ontario. (August 5, 2021) – As part of the City’s strategy to revitalize its core areas, the City of Cambridge’s Economic Development Division has launched the Core Areas Community Improvement Plan (CIP) 2021 - a new suite of financial incentives to help support core area properties.

This past June, the CIP was approved by Cambridge City Council with a 20-day period to allow for additional stakeholder input. Applications are now open for eligible businesses to access funding.

The CIP provides the basis for improvement programs and initiatives within designated CIP Project Areas in the City of Cambridge. The program focuses on Cambridge’s three core areas - Hespeler Village, Preston Towne Centre, and Galt City Centre (Downtown Cambridge) - as designated in the city’s Official Plan and Community Improvement Project Area By-law. Cambridge is home to three historic core areas - each with their own unique shops, vistas and vibe. These are the original downtowns for each of our founding communities of Galt, Preston and Hespeler.

The provision of these new financial incentives and new Community Improvement Plan for core areas, along with the other economic recovery activities that the City has taken over the past year, will accelerate a return to a new normal following the COVID-19 pandemic. As well, they will support the work that the three Business Improvement Areas are undertaking to support their businesses.

“The last 18 months have been devastating for so many of our local core area businesses and this is one way we are helping support a strong post-COVID rebound,” said Mayor Kathryn McGarry. “These financial programs will spur more growth and change in our core areas as we continue to work to make Cambridge not only a great place to live, work and play, but also create downtown destinations.”

CIP's programs and initiatives facilitate the planning and financing of development activities that effectively use, reuse and revitalize lands, buildings and infrastructure. They also prioritize municipal investment and are intended to stimulate private sector investment, property maintenance and revitalization within the project areas.

The new Core Area CIP Programs:

 1. Commercial Property Improvement Grant Program (CPIG)

 2. Commercial Building Restoration, Renovation and Improvement Grant Program (CBRRIG)

 3. Mixed Use Conversion and Restoration Grant Program (MUCRG)

 4. Core Areas Waiver of Application Fees

 5. Tax Increase-based Equivalent Grant Program (TIEG)

Detailed information about each program can be found here.

In winter 2019, Economic Development staff began a CIP process for the city’s three historic core areas. As part of this process, a formal public meeting was held this past May following stakeholder meetings between February and April of this year to gather feedback on the CIP. Staff received considerable feedback from various agencies, industry leaders, private land owners and developers. All of these commenting agencies relayed that core area incentives were not only necessary but mandatory to ensure Cambridge’s success in the economic development continuum.

The CIP has direct links to the City of Cambridge Official Plan and its Strategic Plan – Cambridge Connected. The CIP supports goals related to the themes of People, Place and Prosperity as well as related objectives by enhancing and supporting the further development of Cambridge’s three community core areas. 

Additional Resources

  • Read the Council report here
  • For more information on the Core Area Improvement Programs including how to apply, visit here