City hosts focus group regarding Community Improvement Plan

Anil Jhalli
City hosts focus group regarding Community Improvement Plan
(Photo : Photo: City of Clarence-Rockland)

The City of Clarence-Rockland held a virtual focus group on Thursday, May 9, where representatives detailed the process of a new Community Improvement Plan (CIP).  

The City of Clarence Rockland retained Sierra Planning & Management to prepare a new CIP and asked residents and local business owners for their input in an online meeting last week.  

The 2017-2022 CIP supported businesses along the main commercial corridor along Laurier Street.  

“As villages grow, it’s important for us to open things up and provide opportunities outside the core of Rockland,” said Ali Riel, the City of Clarence-Rockland’s economic development officer.  

Through collaboration, the new CIP will provide evidence-based guidance on the most effective ways to stimulate economic development across a variety of sectors, property improvement, development, and redevelopment. 

The City of Clarence-Rockland provided 12 grants and invested $23,780 to support local business investments in the downtown commercial area revitalization. Projects ranged from façade improvements, energy efficiency upgrades, landscaping, signage installation and permit application fees.  

“We were very pleased with the interest we had,” added Riel, regarding the attendance and feedback given during the focus group. “It’s going to be really beneficial having the expertise from a group like Sierra, who has worked with many municipalities to develop a CIP.” 

Those attending the focus group session expressed interest in creating signage to promote businesses in the region, while adding some landscape to make the municipality more attractive for visitors and passers-by.  

The new CIP project will revisit the CIP area boundary and lay out opportunities for the City to provide incentive-based programs as an economic development tool. 

The plan is to pull the community together to review the draft and ask questions. 

Sierra is producing a draft of the new CIP, which should be ready by the end of June, noted Riel. They hope to have the CIP approved and adopted between late winter of 2024 or early spring of 2025.  

A CIP is a tool available to municipalities under Section 28 of the Planning Act.  CIPs help facilitating revitalization and redevelopment efforts in a defined area or areas. To carry out CIPs, municipalities can establish grants, loans, and other programs to encourage private sector investment in development and renovation projects which seek to improve areas in accordance with local goals and priorities. 

A CIP establishes an environment that facilitates support for existing business and can play a role in attracting new business.  

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