The Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association has lost a $15,000 grant from the Windsor Tunnel Commission.
The downtown BIA has been accustomed to getting the unconditional grant from the tunnel commission every year.
But the board of the commission is now asking for specific details on how the money is spent. Board members want to make sure it's used to improve areas around the tunnel plaza.
Mayor Eddie Francis chairs the tunnel commission. He says it will hold on to that money now, so it knows exactly where the money is going.
In the meantime, the tunnel commission will make improvements itself.
"Instead of giving the grant to the BIA, they're going to re-direct the funds to do the work themselves, to ensure the work gets done," Francis said. "The money will be spent on beautifying the area in and around the tunnel, improving area and even perhaps supporting potential events that are of interest to the tunnel."
The decision is not sitting well with Larry Horwitz, chairman of the BIA.
"There's a total unfairness here. Businesses that operate on government land are given an unfair advantage over small businesses in our community," Horwtiz said. "There are 650 businesses downtown but now with the casino saying they're going to eliminate their contribution to the downtown ... the responsibility of downtown revitalization is now being downloaded to the merchants, the small businesses."
The mayor says the BIA was given a chance to provide a plan for the money, but there was no response.