The city is helping Cambridge's three Business Improvement Areas bring holiday cheer back to downtown streets this Christmas.
Council approved a request from the BIAs this week to help local businesses recover from the pandemic by providing additional funding and waiving permit fees for this year’s holiday decoration programs in Galt, Preston and Hespeler.
Typically the BIAs coordinate and use their own budgets for the entire holiday decoration program including installation, removal, storage and maintenance.
This request for financial assistance will cover all permit fees and hydro costs and 50 per cent of the program costs for each BIA toward the installation, removal, storage and maintenance of the banners and decorations, at a total cost of approximately $16,500.
Funds will be paid from the city's transportation street lighting budget and a one-time cost from its economic development reserve fund of $13,624.
In recommending the expenditure, staff reasoned that holiday displays can generate lots of free publicity, attract visitors, and increase profits for businesses during the holiday seasons in addition to supporting the city's annual Christmas in Cambridge holiday events.
The one-time request covers permit fees and offers financial assistance for the 2021/2022 season only and asks that the BIAs agree to a memorandum of understanding that will provide staff with future direction regarding potential funding to the BIAs' respective holiday décor programs.