Thank you Niagara Falls!

More eyes mean less crime on Main Street

Original Article

NIAGARA FALLS — A new name for the area, an invigorated marketplace, streetscape improvements and chasing away criminals through revitalization are all part of a plan to breath new life into the old and tired Main Street and Ferry Street business area.

RCI Consulting will unveil its community improvement plan for the Main and Ferry area at Monday’s council meeting. The report outlines needed changes to revitalize the area, which it renames Historic Drummondville, and plays off of the district’s heritage to provide opportunities for its rebirth.

The plan includes the Battle Ground Hotel Museum, the Drummond Hill Cemetery and the pedestrian trail behind it.

“These areas have been included to recognize their heritage significance and their role as an integral part of the revitalization of Historic Drummondville.”

For a long time, Main and Ferry has been known as a haven for criminal activity and the CIP is a chance to clean up the area. The plan calls for a mix of civic improvements, such as widening sidewalks and narrowing roads, changing street lighting and furniture to suit the historical flavour, planting new trees and using parks and open spaces to enhance the quality and accessibility of the area. The plan also calls for a new gateway and three new landscaped entry points into the district.

The CIP is expected to instigate new businesses along the retail district and reinvigorate the Sylvia Place Farmers Market with a new name, the Vinters Marketplace, and a new retail strategy offering a daily farmers market, a wine store specializing in wines of Niagara as well as other related retail uses.

The plan intends to bring more people to Main Street with the hope more eyes on the street will scare criminals from the area.

The CIP is also laden with incentives, offering thousands of dollars in matching grants, breaks on taxes and development fees and zero interest loans up to $500,000 per residential property over 10 years. All incentives are subject to availability of funding as approved by council.

Ruth Ann Nieuwesteeg, the chair of the Main and Ferry BIA, said she is concerned what the district will turn into if the CIP is not passed, especially by 2012 when the city plans to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.

“It will scare people to even go into that area,” she said. “We need to clean it up. “We need it. I don’t know what will happen without it.”

Mayor Ted Salci said he was hopeful council will endorse the plan. “I support the BIA in there efforts to recreate a vibrant area,” he said.