Windsor, Ontario – Halfway through the implantation of its five-year Community Benefits Plan, the Gordie Howe International Bridge project team has identified new investment opportunities worth $2.3 million. Eleven new projects are being added to the Plan, along with expanded funding to six existing initiatives, all of which bring further benefits to the local communities.
The funding is part of the Neighborhood Infrastructure Strategy, a $20 million (CDN) direct community investment on both sides of the border. In 2022, the project team accepted several new proposals and undertook community consultation to review the current priorities of the neighborhoods closest to the project. The $2.3 million will be invested in the following community priority areas: $1.1 million for Community Partnerships; $659,600 for Economic Benefits; $400,000 for Community Safety and Connections and $142,000 for Aesthetics and Landscaping.
Since 2019, the project team has partnered with over 65 US and Canadian organizations to deliver the two components of the Community Benefits Plan – the Workforce Development and Participation Strategy and Neighborhood Infrastructure Strategy. The implementation of these initiatives adds six new delivery partners to the Community Benefits Plan family.
A key feature of the Gordie Howe International Bridge project is the inclusion of a Community Benefits Plan. Launched in June 2019, the Community Benefits Plan reflects community priorities and includes two components, the Workforce Development and Participation Strategy and the Neighborhood Infrastructure
The Neighborhood Infrastructure Strategy is a $20 million (CDN) direct community investment on both sides of the border. In 2019, approximately $14.6 million (CDN) was allocated to 29 projects in Windsor and Detroit. With implementation of the Plan at the midway point of its five-year term, the project team accepted several new proposals and undertook community consultation, to review the current priorities of the neighborhoods closest to the project.
As a result, new investment opportunities worth $2.3 million (CDN) have been identified to bring further benefits to the local communities. Eleven new projects are being added to the Plan, along with additional funding to six existing initiatives. Remaining Neighborhood Infrastructure Strategy funds will be allocated in early 2024.
“This announcement is a prime example of what authentic, sustained community engagement can yield. WDBA and Bridging North America’s continued investment in the communities on both sides of the border continue to be driven by feedback from, and in response to the needs of, frontline residents, said Gabriela Santiago-Romero, Detroit Council Member, District 6. “I am proud of our residents for their continued engagement and advocacy and can’t wait to see the impact these new projects will have on the Delray and southwest Detroit communities.”
The new Community Benefits Plan initiatives in Southwest Detroit include:
Green Infrastructure and Programming
Partner: Congress of Communities (COC): Investments in the youth-driven community center will support green programming, community education and infrastructure improvements, including the expansion of the community garden program. Funding will also support assessment and integration of sustainable policies into the organization.
Southwest Detroit Youth Programming
Partner: Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation (DHDC): Afterschool and summer programming to be offered to youth at DHDC and the Delray Community Center. Programming will provide culturally appropriate programs and services that meet the needs of youth within the community.
Southwest Detroit Small Business Support
Partner: Puente Cultural Integration, LLC: Bilingual programming (English and Spanish) including coaching and technical assistance, networking events, workshops, collaborative marketing and marketplace opportunities to support small business owners and entrepreneurs in Southwest Detroit.
SDBA Small Business Center Improvements
Partner: Southwest Detroit Business Association (SDBA): Improvements to SDBA’s Small Business Development Center, including the creation of an updated meeting space and technology hub for small businesses.
Southwest Detroit Business Summit
Partner: To be confirmed: The Southwest Detroit Business Summit will provide a half-day event for area businesses and entrepreneurs to leverage the future operation of the Gordie Howe International Bridge for tourism and business opportunities.
Youth Environmental Program
Partner: The Greening of Detroit: The TreeKeepers Kids Program is an environmental education program designed to engage students in three Southwest Detroit schools. Activities will promote environmental awareness and stewardship and will include tree planting at neighborhood schools or parks.
Community Organization Investment Grants
Partner: Local Community Organizations in both Detroit and Windsor: Increase funding from $50,000 to $100,000 (CDN) per country for the 2023 and 2024 Community Organization Investment (COI) funding cycles to support events, programming or infrastructure projects delivered by non-profit or charitable organizations in the host communities.
Gordie Howe International Bridge Quick Facts
- The Gordie Howe International Bridge Community Benefits Plan is being delivered by Bridging North America with collaboration and oversight from Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority and the State of Michigan.
- In 2019, approximately $14.6 million (CDN) of the $20 million (CDN) Neighborhood Infrastructure Strategy was allocated to 29 projects in Windsor and Detroit. To ensure all funding is spent by the end of the five-year plan in March 2025, funding opportunities were identified for the 50 per cent and 75 per cent points in implementation.
- Following the 2023 release of $2.3 million, the remaining $3.1 million will be allocated in early 2024. Information on how the funds will be invested will be shared in 2023.
- Of the 29 original Neighborhood Infrastructure Strategy initiatives, five initiatives are complete, 19 are in progress and one was not pursued.