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Downtown Kitchener receives an A…for Awesome

Posted on Monday May 06, 2013

Kitchener– Kitchener’s finance and corporate services committee received the 2012 Downtown Annual Report that highlighted some of the amazing things taking place in downtown.

“Downtown is on the way up as a whole and this report card is certainly an indication of that,” said downtown ward 10 councillor Dan Glenn-Graham.

Last year was a tremendously positive year for Downtown Kitchener. Efforts of the city, the Downtown Kitchener Business Improvement Area (BIA), community partners and the private sector are more closely aligned than ever before.

“Awesome happens here…and here’s a look back thru 2012” is a document that reports on the progress of the initiatives identified in the Downtown Action Plan 2012-2016. This joint initiative with the Downtown Kitchener BIA was adopted in 2012 and guides their work and efforts in the areas of:

  1. An Amazing King Street Experience
  2. New Urban Neighbourhoods
  3. An Innovation District
  4. Foster a Collaborative Community

"In my 12 years at the city, 2012 saw by far the most investment activity by our business community that I have ever seen,” said Cory Bluhm, manager of downtown community development. “New stores and restaurants, new proposed housing projects and enhanced storefronts demonstrate strong confidence and excitement in the downtown. Many new events, community group meetings and social activities are occurring downtown. It is clear that the city’s strategic Economic Development Investment Fund (EDIF) investments are having a significant impact on the downtown.”

Highlights of the report card include:

  • Completion of the Victoria Park Lake enhancements and Boathouse patio expansion;
  • Eight facade enhancements through the facade grant program - notably, The Simpson Block, Entertaining Elements, Memoli and Exclamation restaurant;
  • Launching of the new ‘downtownkitchener.ca’ website;
  • New events including Canada Day, Art Markets, Live From Halls Lane, Cooking with Michael Smith, cityhood celebrations, food trucks, etc.
  • Total attendance at downtown festivals and events exceeded 468,000;
  • 115 live music performances throughout the summer;
  • More than 80 programs, bookings and events at the Kitchener Market; and
  • Enhancement and programming of Vogelsang Green.
  • 19 new restaurants opened, including the popular Duke Food Block (DFB);
  • Occupancy of the Arrow Lofts;
  • The announcement of two new housing developments - One Victoria & Victoria Commons;
  • Tremendous start-up activity fuelled in part by the growth of the Communitech HUB and arrival of the Velocity Garage; and,
  • Feature exhibits at THEMUSEUM including Avatar and Treasures of China.

The impressive annual report can be viewed online at www.downtownkitchener.ca once ratified by council.

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