Downtown Targeted Incentive Zone

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A key element of the City of London’s Downtown Revitalization Strategy is the creation of a Downtown Targeted Incentive Zone in order to rehabilitate the core’s heritage streetscape, accompanied by “a series of new financial incentives” (2007/12/08 – City of London: Living in the City).

One of the incentives which are being proposed is an “Awning, Signage and Decorative Lighting Grant Program.”

At first blush, from a pedestrian perspective, this is a wonderful initiative. Imagine, correspondingly-covered sidewalks the length of each side of Dundas Street. Protection from the sun, the rain, the snow, the bird droppings… until you start to read the eligibility requirements. In addition, it seems that this is a 1-time-only incentive. And worse still, it doesn’t appear that there’s been a single, unifying design adopted; will we end up with a hodgepodge of garish, conflicting designs that serve as commercial billboards and offer little relief to pedestrians?

Which leads me to ask, why doesn’t the city do this and pay for it and maintain it, instead of relying on business owner’s to do it?

This city really needs a Pedestrian Committee.

Links:
City of London: Downtown Revitalization – Measures of Success
2006 – City of London: State of the Downtown – Annual Report
2006/11/22 – City of London: Downtown Strategy re 204-206 Dundas St.
2007/11/14 – City of London: Downtown Revitalization Strategy

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