City incentives, casino may lead to urban renewal in Glengarry area

Several factors are leading neighbourhood renewal leaders to hope for development in depressed neighbourhood near casino.

New business credits casino with success

Vacant lots and boarded up buildings still prevail in Glengarry neighbourhood east of Caesars Windsor. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

The neighbourhood just east of Caesars Windsor is starting to show signs of improvement. 

A neighbourhood renewal group and city planners are hoping greatly reduced development charges, a community improvement plan and brownfield development tax breaks can at last be the spark that sees the Glengarry Marentette neighbourhood take off.

"The council's approved a brownfield grant for the property at Riverside and Marentette so the hope is that you'd see something pop up there in the near future," said Greg Atkinson, senior planner with the City of Windsor.

Since 2013, Caesars Windsor has been working with the Glengarry Neighbourhood Renewal committee to improve the area.

Patrick Firth, coordinator of The Initiative, Glengarry Neighbourhood Renewal, said his group has been working closely with the casino for years. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

It paid for lighting in 12 alleys around Glengarry and Alymer avenues, and is now working to put new amenities — such as benches and basketball court improvements — in Kinsmen Park at the corner of Chatham Street East and Louis Avenue.

"We're trying our best to get illegal dumping out of the alleyways," said Patrick Firth, coordinator of The Initiative, Glengarry Neighbourhood Renewal. "We are now expanding east and south to take in other areas and I know there are safety concerns in those areas."

A developer was recently granted a brownfield development tax incentive for this lot at Riverside Drive and Marentette Avenue. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

Business success

The Brew Microbrewery on University Avenue East near Alymer Avenue started up four years ago and one of the owners credits its proximity to the casino two blocks away with its success.

"We work with [the casino] quite a bit actually. We sell to their concerts. We're on tap there at Nero's," said Jordan Goure.

Jason Gore at Brew Microbrewery said patrons of the casino often stop at his business before or after shows. They also sell their craft brews at Caesars. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

"They're actually opening up a new craft beer bar there as well that we're going to be on tap at," said Goure, adding that casino patrons frequent his business before and after shows at Caesars.

But there are still several vacant lots for sale.

The city hopes to entice developers to build medium-density housing, such as townhouses, on the land. Atkinson admits it may take a few years to fill in the blank spaces.

Dale Molnar