Image courtesy of the City of Niagara Falls
Community Improvement Plans (CIP) provide a variety of financial incentive programs to encourage redevelopment in key areas. As part of an ongoing series, I will be assessing the CIPs of specific areas within the Greater Horseshoe. Today, I will be focusing on Brownfield sites in Niagara Falls.
Niagara Falls has a unique story in relation to their Brownfield sites before the construction of the Sir Adam Beck Generating Station, in the late 1800’s, many small hydroelectric plants were built in the City. The plants drew many different industries to the area and they in turn developed manufacturing plants due to the great source of inexpensive hydroelectric power. An eventual slump in the economy led to closure for many of the plants. They were never upgraded, leaving behind a large amount of Brownfield redevelopment opportunities in Niagara Falls.
Incentive programs available
In 2006, the City of Niagara Falls developed a Brownfield Community Improvement Plan (CIP) that is still in place today. The plan recognized four areas in which the City would provide assistance to those looking to remediate, rehabilitate and redevelop a brownfield property.
Environmental Study Grant
This grant can be applied to a Phase 2 Environmental Assessment, a Remedial Work Plan and or a Risk Assessment/Risk Management Plan. It offers a 50-50 matching program. The grant is applicable for a maximum of two studies per property and maximum grant entitlement is $12,500 for one study or a maximum of $20,000 for two studies.
Brownfield Tax Assistance
The tax assistance program freezes municipal property taxes up to five years and provincial property taxes up to three years. Eligible costs include; environmental remediation, environmental insurance premium, operating/maintaining environmental controls.
Brownfield Rehabilitation Grant
The grant can also be applied to a Phase 2 Environmental Assessment, a Remedial Work Plan and or a Risk Assessment/Risk Management Plan if they have not already been covered by the environmental study grant and the brownfield tax assistance program. The program provides an annual grant for up to 10 years to offset redevelopment and remediation costs.
Development Charge Exemption Program
This program provides 75% exemption on the required development charge for commercial, residential and mixed use developments.Provided the development includes Smart Growth principles there is up to an additional 25% City development charge reduction available.
A focus on project areas
The City of Niagara Falls has outlined three tiered priority areas for the incentives to be applied. The highest priority area is what the City has identified as the “Pilot Project Area”. The area sits North of the main tourist district starting at Bridge St. and leads as far as Stanley Ave and Heritage Road. There are two other areas identified that are eligible for the incentive programs that includes Brownfield’s within the urban area and then other general areas for community improvement that the City has identified.
Niagara Falls Brownfield improvement programs were designed to foster new economic programs and improve the environmental conditions of the area. The incentives offer the opportunity for improvement of the areas as a whole. Connect with me for more information on Niagara Falls Brownfield commercial redevelopment opportunities available for improvement within the city.