Businesses in 'long-neglected neighbourhood' Ford City to get a face lift

City of Windsor is accepting applications for grants under the Ford City Community Improvement Plan, which was approved by council last year.

The community improvement plan approved by city council to make a difference

Michael Weber with his realtor Deidra Ritsche outside of the soon-to-be-opened Pressure Drop. It will be a retail store and a coffee shop. (Stacey Janzer/CBC)

When Michael Weber was choosing a spot for his retail and coffee shop space, he looked to Ford City.

He and his partner, Marina Maffessanti, saw the zoning was in place and felt there was a lot of community interest for Pressure Drop, which is expected to open in March.

Through the community improvement plan approved for Ford City by council last year, Weber was able to secure funds to renovate a property on Drouillard Road.

"That was a big factor," Weber said about the grant. "In many ways it was the icing on the cake."

Business owners can apply for a CIP grant to fix the facade of their businesses. (Stacey Janzer/CBC)

There are a number of financial incentives under the CIP, including grants for exterior maintenance and retail unit improvements.

Randy Diestelmann said the CIP will give business owners "a step up."

Diestelmann, chair of the Ford City Business Improvement Area, has invested in the community since 2008. He's the owner of one residential unit and three commercial properties.

"It's been a long neglected neighbourhood for investment," said Diestelmann.

"There's a lot of great community organizations here that have done a lot of leg work and a lot of the heavy lifting over the last several years."

Deidre Ritsche, a realtor for Royal Lepage Binder Real Estate, said she has been working with the community in Ford City to revitalize the area for the past few years.

Deidre Ritsche describes the development in Ford City

3 years ago
Duration 1:48
Commercial properties are being picked up off the market in Ford City.

"There's a lot of beauty and a lot of creativity, that we just want to make sure we highlight," said Ritsche, adding that there have been lots of people looking to invest in the neighbourhood.

Grant applications for the CIP are now being accepted by the City of Windsor. 


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