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During 2013, the Town of Cobourg undertook a comprehensive investigation to determine what their strategy or plan should be to restore full life to the Downtown.  It started with a survey of citizens, involved the DBIA and recruited a large group of volunteers to help and at the end of the process an Action Plan was produced.  This was reported in the Cobourg news section of this site but is now detailed here.  Included are all the Town's documents on easy to download links.  Also included a short summaries of what is planned.  Note that a parallel investigation into parking was also done but this has not yet been completed.  For a progress report on that, go here.

The Key Elements of the Plan are:

Downtown Master Plan

The Municipal Heritage Master Plan will be overlaid with key recommendations from the DBIA, Town Planning Dept., Economic Development and Tourism Dept.  It will have an emphasis on heritage buildings as well as harmonious business clusters and potential tourism product nodes.  It will specify physical appearance, conservation, rehabilitation and structure of downtown buildings.

3D Model
As part of the downtown vitalization initiative, a 3D Model using SketchUp was created. This model may now be enhanced to create a new vision for the downtown featuring all streetscape details, location of proposed public washrooms, installation of public art, additional trees and gardens.

Engineering Survey
An engineering survey of buildings on King Street, from Spring Street to McGill Street will also be undertaken. This will identify the breadth of improvements required to specific properties. Once complete, this may be added to the 3D Model and then converted to a web-based virtual tour for marketing the downtown to potential commercial business recruits, developers and residents.

Virtual Tour
The updated 3D Model and Virtual Tour will simplify complex decisions within the existing heritage framework as important building features and proposed architectural improvements will be recorded. Effectively, anyone looking to locate downtown, upgrades a building or add a sign will have bought into the model's vision.

Feasibility Study
A feasibility study on the value and potential uses of town owned properties, which could be developed to enhance tourism products, is integral to the downtown master plan. Emphasis will be on identifying the impact of a four-season destination product for downtown Cobourg.

Improvement Financing
Armed with factual information on existing buildings and a Heritage Master Plan identifying the preferred features and streetscapes of our future downtown, we will then establish a Community Improvement Venture Initiative. This entity will provide financial loans and ensure the standards set by Cobourg Town Council are met and implemented.

More detail on Key objectives

Shift towards commercial categories that enhance the town's economic strategy and promote the downtown Vision by identifying and pursuing a list of prospective businesses, in categories residents told us they most wanted in their downtown. E.g. Creative economy, hardware, clothing, brewers, vintners, entertainment promoters and food related businesses and services.

For Finance:

The Task Force recommends funds be sought through the Provincial Rural Economic Development Fund to establish a venture initiative. This agency will leverage an initial town sponsored investment to fund and partner in redevelopment of heritage buildings. The venture initiative will be the mechanism that implements the redevelopment of downtown. The Task Force recommends the model for this entity is an autonomous, independent corporation reporting to an appointed board of directors with town Council representation.

Any plan needs measurable goals - in this case they were defined as:

Open House

As part of the Public consultation process, an Open house was held which displayed some of the visual ideas proposed. Not all of these will be implemented but most will. At the open house, 16 panels were displayed - below you can download these panels.

Timeline:

2013

2014

2015

 

Complete Plan

Full details of this plan are now on the Town's web site or you can download it here.