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Envision
Ford City
YOUR Vision,
for YOUR Community,
through YOUR eyes!
To have Mike speak to your community group, or help with
your community engagement project email him at
morencymike@gmail.com
Acknowledgements
• Ford City Neighbourhood Renewal
• Drouillard Place
• New Song Church
• Maisonville Court
• Drouillard Place Terrace
• Gino Marcus Community Complex
• Canada Mortgage and Housing
• Mary Medclaf and the University of Windsor
• Paul Born of the Tamarak Institute
• Barry Horrobin and Bob Hayes
• Ford City Redevelopment Committee
• The people of Ford City!
What are
Community Conversations?
In simplest terms, a Community Conversation
is people talking about something they care
about.
•
•
•
•
•

Café style
10 Sessions
72 individual participants
15 discussion groups
Provided their response to four questions.
Why Community Conversations?
“There is no power for change greater than a community
discovering what it cares about.”

The process was about seeing the people’s vision
for their community, through their eyes!
When you dream alone,
it remains just a dream.
When you dream together,
it is the beginning of a new reality.
– Brazilian Proverb
What was Discussed?
1.What do you like about Ford City? What is good
about your community?
2.What are the top ten words you would like people to
use to describe Ford City in the Future?
3.What businesses would you like to see in Ford City? Is
there a theme or concept you envision?
4.What could be done with vacant land in the
community?
Who Participated?
• Residents
• Property owners
• Business leaders
• Organization leaders
• Older adults
• Persons with disabilities
• Teens
The Results
• Individual and group responses were recorded
• Group responses were listed by frequency
• Responses were further sorted by themes
Question #1
What do you love about Ford City?
What is good about your community?
How they described these concepts
• Sense of Community
They expressed that Ford City had a “small town feel’, and that
“people know each other.” Further, they stated that residents
are quick “to rally together for a cause.”

• Character
Participants made frequent mention of the murals that have
been painted and installed in the community, providing a
“creative”, “unique”, and “artistic character” or feel.
Participants also spoke passionately about the community’s
place in history as is the birthplace of the automobile in
Canada and about the historical character of its buildings
including the historical Holy Rosary church.
• Churches and Service Providers
Participants stated that people could come to the
community and expect to “get their needs met.”
A strong appreciation for the churches and faith groups in
the community. One participant stated they felt that “God
hangs out here [on Drouillard].”

• Potential
Participants felt their community has a strong potential to
grow due to the affordable space available for artists and
new businesses.
Question #2
What are the top ten words you would like
people to use to describe Ford City in the
Future?
How they described these concepts
• Vibrant
A “vibrant and prosperous urban village”, like “Kensington
Market in Toronto”, with a “unique” character and an
“eclectic mix of businesses.”

• Safe
Groups stated that they wanted people to “feel welcome”
in a “clean”, "beautiful”, “walkable”, and “relaxing”
environment.

• Character
They envision a “creative community of artisans,” where
artists and the general public can interact. They also
expressed a desire for the community to be a place
“where history is celebrated,”
• Friendly
Groups used the terms “nice”, “caring”, “helpful”, and
“accommodating to people’s needs” to describe some of
the social characteristics which they hope will be part of
their future.

• Transformed
Participants expressed a strong desire for change. They
want Ford City to be seen as “building”, and “growing.”

• Urban Village
“A destination,” where people can “find unique items,
they can’t get anywhere else.” They picture an “eclectic
mix of shops”, “artistic storefronts” “cafes”, “craft
vendors”, “live music and art”, and a “farmer’s market”.
Question #3a
What businesses would you like to see in
Ford City?
How they described these businesses
Specialty Shops
A “hair salon” “candy shop”, “ice cream shop”, “chocolatier”
and an “upscale thrift/resale shop.”

Café
A place where people could “simply relax” or possibly take in a
“jam session...” They felt that a café would “draw people into
the community” and that it would “create an urban village feel
and be pedestrian-friendly”.

General Store
A store that would sell a variety of items at an affordable price.
Restaurant
An “affordable,” “family-friendly,” restaurant, or a “Bistro” that
could draw people into the community.

Art Spaces and Shops
Participants described a wide variety of arts-related
businesses, including “galleries”, “theatres”, “studio space”,
“shops”, and “music or dance schools.” They envisioned a
“community arts hub.”

Museum
For the history of “the area,” “the automobile,”
“manufacturing,” “the labour movement,” or even “the great
lakes and maritime [shipping].”

Full-Line Grocery Store
A place to purchase “fresh fruit and vegetables,” at “less
expensive” prices.
Question #3b
Is there a theme or concept you envision?
How they described these themes
Artisan Village
A community where “artists and artisans live, work, conduct
business and display their goods.”

Urban Village
A compact business district with a “variety of specialty shops”
that would “draw people from all over.”

Business Incubator
A community that draws in “creative entrepreneurs” and “new
business.”

Heritage District
A “bustling, 1930’s downtown,” with “buildings restored to their
original facades.” A tourist destination “for local history and
heritage buffs.”
Question #4
What could be done with vacant land in
the community including:
• the former Holy Rosary Church?
• individual vacant lots?
• the land between St. Luke and Walker?
Ideas for the Repurposing of
Holy Rosary Church
How they described these uses
Arts Centre
A “shared arts space.” Participants suggested that the
auditorium could become “the new home for the Windsor
Symphony,” as well as open for “community theatre
groups,” and “concerts.”

Museum
“an automotive museum,” “a Ford Motor Company of
Canada Museum,” “a great lakes or maritime museum,” “a
manufacturing museum,” and a “labour movement
museum.” Participants expressed that each of these
would “draw people from across the country” to visit Ford
City.
Ideas for the Redevelopment of Vacant
Lots in Ford City
How they described these uses
New and Improved
Several groups suggested that to build the kind of vibrant
business district they envision, “new commercial spaces,”
“parking,” and “housing” are needed.

Arts/Events Spaces
They suggested that several more vacant lots should be
converted to “arts spaces for murals, living art walls,
sculptures or outdoor concerts.”

Employment Generating
“New businesses that would give people jobs and draw
people to the area.”
Ideas for Repurposing of Industrial Lands
on St. Luke Road
How they described these uses
Recreational Space
That would “connect the community with the rest of the city”,
including walking/biking trails, an outdoor theatre, playground
spaces, etc…

Housing
Newly developed “geared-to-income,” or “mixed-income” to help
meet the need in the City of Windsor and maintain the character of
the community.

Employment Generating
Develop a “light industrial [park] like on Rhodes drive,” “a business
incubator park like they have in Waterloo,”

Commercial/Institutional
Development of new commercial space , or to attract new institutions
like “a campus for the University or College” or “a nursing home.”
Common Themes
Safety and Security
Participants want a community that is free of the stigma and
stereotypes attached to the community and where people are
comfortable to visit, shop and live.

Community Connectivity
Participants strongly value their social connections and see
these as a key part of the redevelopment efforts.

Activity Generating
Participants recognize that the community needs people to visit
and conduct business to make the business district viable.

Thriving Commercial Corridor
They consistently stated that they want Ford City to be a
prosperous, urban village with a strong arts and heritage
theme.
New Recommendations
1. Evaluate, mitigate, and redevelop the former
industrial lands between Walker and St. Luke
Roads
2. Repurpose the former Holy Rosary Church into a
shared community arts and heritage Centre
3. Redevelop the Ford City Business District into an
Urban Artisan Village with a strong heritage
theme
4. Execute a program to foster positive community
self-image and vision
5. Develop a set of financial incentives for current
and future investors
Next Steps
• Continue to capitalize upon the synergy
• Continue to build Ford City’s social capital

• Secure public and private investments

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Envision Ford City - Report to the Community

  • 1. Envision Ford City YOUR Vision, for YOUR Community, through YOUR eyes! To have Mike speak to your community group, or help with your community engagement project email him at morencymike@gmail.com
  • 2. Acknowledgements • Ford City Neighbourhood Renewal • Drouillard Place • New Song Church • Maisonville Court • Drouillard Place Terrace • Gino Marcus Community Complex • Canada Mortgage and Housing • Mary Medclaf and the University of Windsor • Paul Born of the Tamarak Institute • Barry Horrobin and Bob Hayes • Ford City Redevelopment Committee • The people of Ford City!
  • 3.
  • 4. What are Community Conversations? In simplest terms, a Community Conversation is people talking about something they care about. • • • • • Café style 10 Sessions 72 individual participants 15 discussion groups Provided their response to four questions.
  • 5. Why Community Conversations? “There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.” The process was about seeing the people’s vision for their community, through their eyes! When you dream alone, it remains just a dream. When you dream together, it is the beginning of a new reality. – Brazilian Proverb
  • 6. What was Discussed? 1.What do you like about Ford City? What is good about your community? 2.What are the top ten words you would like people to use to describe Ford City in the Future? 3.What businesses would you like to see in Ford City? Is there a theme or concept you envision? 4.What could be done with vacant land in the community?
  • 7. Who Participated? • Residents • Property owners • Business leaders • Organization leaders • Older adults • Persons with disabilities • Teens
  • 8. The Results • Individual and group responses were recorded • Group responses were listed by frequency • Responses were further sorted by themes
  • 9. Question #1 What do you love about Ford City? What is good about your community?
  • 10. How they described these concepts • Sense of Community They expressed that Ford City had a “small town feel’, and that “people know each other.” Further, they stated that residents are quick “to rally together for a cause.” • Character Participants made frequent mention of the murals that have been painted and installed in the community, providing a “creative”, “unique”, and “artistic character” or feel. Participants also spoke passionately about the community’s place in history as is the birthplace of the automobile in Canada and about the historical character of its buildings including the historical Holy Rosary church.
  • 11. • Churches and Service Providers Participants stated that people could come to the community and expect to “get their needs met.” A strong appreciation for the churches and faith groups in the community. One participant stated they felt that “God hangs out here [on Drouillard].” • Potential Participants felt their community has a strong potential to grow due to the affordable space available for artists and new businesses.
  • 12. Question #2 What are the top ten words you would like people to use to describe Ford City in the Future?
  • 13. How they described these concepts • Vibrant A “vibrant and prosperous urban village”, like “Kensington Market in Toronto”, with a “unique” character and an “eclectic mix of businesses.” • Safe Groups stated that they wanted people to “feel welcome” in a “clean”, "beautiful”, “walkable”, and “relaxing” environment. • Character They envision a “creative community of artisans,” where artists and the general public can interact. They also expressed a desire for the community to be a place “where history is celebrated,”
  • 14. • Friendly Groups used the terms “nice”, “caring”, “helpful”, and “accommodating to people’s needs” to describe some of the social characteristics which they hope will be part of their future. • Transformed Participants expressed a strong desire for change. They want Ford City to be seen as “building”, and “growing.” • Urban Village “A destination,” where people can “find unique items, they can’t get anywhere else.” They picture an “eclectic mix of shops”, “artistic storefronts” “cafes”, “craft vendors”, “live music and art”, and a “farmer’s market”.
  • 15. Question #3a What businesses would you like to see in Ford City?
  • 16. How they described these businesses Specialty Shops A “hair salon” “candy shop”, “ice cream shop”, “chocolatier” and an “upscale thrift/resale shop.” Café A place where people could “simply relax” or possibly take in a “jam session...” They felt that a café would “draw people into the community” and that it would “create an urban village feel and be pedestrian-friendly”. General Store A store that would sell a variety of items at an affordable price.
  • 17. Restaurant An “affordable,” “family-friendly,” restaurant, or a “Bistro” that could draw people into the community. Art Spaces and Shops Participants described a wide variety of arts-related businesses, including “galleries”, “theatres”, “studio space”, “shops”, and “music or dance schools.” They envisioned a “community arts hub.” Museum For the history of “the area,” “the automobile,” “manufacturing,” “the labour movement,” or even “the great lakes and maritime [shipping].” Full-Line Grocery Store A place to purchase “fresh fruit and vegetables,” at “less expensive” prices.
  • 18. Question #3b Is there a theme or concept you envision?
  • 19. How they described these themes Artisan Village A community where “artists and artisans live, work, conduct business and display their goods.” Urban Village A compact business district with a “variety of specialty shops” that would “draw people from all over.” Business Incubator A community that draws in “creative entrepreneurs” and “new business.” Heritage District A “bustling, 1930’s downtown,” with “buildings restored to their original facades.” A tourist destination “for local history and heritage buffs.”
  • 20. Question #4 What could be done with vacant land in the community including: • the former Holy Rosary Church? • individual vacant lots? • the land between St. Luke and Walker?
  • 21. Ideas for the Repurposing of Holy Rosary Church
  • 22. How they described these uses Arts Centre A “shared arts space.” Participants suggested that the auditorium could become “the new home for the Windsor Symphony,” as well as open for “community theatre groups,” and “concerts.” Museum “an automotive museum,” “a Ford Motor Company of Canada Museum,” “a great lakes or maritime museum,” “a manufacturing museum,” and a “labour movement museum.” Participants expressed that each of these would “draw people from across the country” to visit Ford City.
  • 23. Ideas for the Redevelopment of Vacant Lots in Ford City
  • 24. How they described these uses New and Improved Several groups suggested that to build the kind of vibrant business district they envision, “new commercial spaces,” “parking,” and “housing” are needed. Arts/Events Spaces They suggested that several more vacant lots should be converted to “arts spaces for murals, living art walls, sculptures or outdoor concerts.” Employment Generating “New businesses that would give people jobs and draw people to the area.”
  • 25. Ideas for Repurposing of Industrial Lands on St. Luke Road
  • 26. How they described these uses Recreational Space That would “connect the community with the rest of the city”, including walking/biking trails, an outdoor theatre, playground spaces, etc… Housing Newly developed “geared-to-income,” or “mixed-income” to help meet the need in the City of Windsor and maintain the character of the community. Employment Generating Develop a “light industrial [park] like on Rhodes drive,” “a business incubator park like they have in Waterloo,” Commercial/Institutional Development of new commercial space , or to attract new institutions like “a campus for the University or College” or “a nursing home.”
  • 27. Common Themes Safety and Security Participants want a community that is free of the stigma and stereotypes attached to the community and where people are comfortable to visit, shop and live. Community Connectivity Participants strongly value their social connections and see these as a key part of the redevelopment efforts. Activity Generating Participants recognize that the community needs people to visit and conduct business to make the business district viable. Thriving Commercial Corridor They consistently stated that they want Ford City to be a prosperous, urban village with a strong arts and heritage theme.
  • 28. New Recommendations 1. Evaluate, mitigate, and redevelop the former industrial lands between Walker and St. Luke Roads 2. Repurpose the former Holy Rosary Church into a shared community arts and heritage Centre 3. Redevelop the Ford City Business District into an Urban Artisan Village with a strong heritage theme 4. Execute a program to foster positive community self-image and vision 5. Develop a set of financial incentives for current and future investors
  • 29. Next Steps • Continue to capitalize upon the synergy • Continue to build Ford City’s social capital • Secure public and private investments

Editor's Notes

  1. Good evening, my name is Mike Morency. Early this spring I had the pleasure of working with the Ford City Neighbourhood Renewal staff and the people of this community on “Envision Ford City” a project to identify a shared vision.
  2. Before I begin to share with you the results of the project I wish to thank several people for their assistance. Thanks to Marina Clemens, Executive Director of Drouillard Place, Karlene Nielsen and Stephen Lynn, Community Development Coordinators for the Ford City Neighbourhood Renewal Project, for your support, the background materials you provided, as well as your daily encouragement, advice and direction.Thank you to our Community Conversation hosts: New Song Church, Maisonville Court, Drouillard Place Terrace, Gino Marcus Community Complex, andDrouillard Place.Special thanks to our project sponsor: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, for funding the outreach, the printing the final report and tonight’s forum. Several individuals also provided invaluable assistance as the project took shape. My thanks go out to; Mary Medcalf, Coordinator of Field Education Programs for the School of Social Work at the University of Windsor for your help in advising the work and editing the final report. Also, to Paul Born of the Tamarak Institute for providing the model we use. And to Judith Binder of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation for consulting with me as the project evolved. Finally, to Barry Horrobin of the Windsor Police Service and Bob Hayes, as your reports were invaluable resources in understanding the background for the project.I also wish to thank the Ford City Redevelopment Committee for approving the project and lending their support to this very important community engagement process. Most importantly, however, I want to thank YOU, the people of Ford City. Residents, property owners, tenants, business operators, and community leaders gave their time to attend the sessions. Your ideas, comments, hopes and dreams are the substance of this report. As promised, this report is for you, for it is Your Vision for Your Community that counts most!
  3. Let me begin with a little background on Ford City. While smaller than the boundaries that existed at amalgamation in 1935, the geographic area for this report is bound by Riverside Drive on the North, Seminole Road on the South, Ford Motor Company lands on the East, and Walker Road on the West. Ford City was a boom town toward the end of the industrial revolution (1905 – 1930). The town’s layout was developed quickly to meet the needs of a growing economy and demanding residents because of the vibrant growth of Ford. It did not have a comprehensive plan designed to nurture growth and separate uses like the neighbouring town of Walkerville. For this reason, future development in Ford City would prove to be a challenge because of its unique land uses and neighbourhood dynamic. When Ford Motor Company relocated to Oakville in 1953 the community experienced a significant economic downturn. This led to the closure of most of the commercial enterprise in the area. Since the mid-1970’s there have been a number of reports and community initiatives aimed at renewing Ford City. Most recently, this work has centred on the recommendations contained in a trio of reports which analyzed current and past redevelopment efforts through the lens of organizational planning, urban planning and crime prevention. This led to the formation of the Ford City Neighbourhood Renewal Project (FCRP).This past April, the Ford City Redevelopment Committee (FCRC), through the Ford City Neighbourhood Renewal Project (FCNRP), launched a three-month initiative to engage area residents, property owners and, community and business leaders in an asset and strengths-focused dialogue to develop a shared community vision. Entitled “Envision Ford City” the strategy utilized a series of ten Community Conversations to stimulate discussion about the future of Ford City.
  4. What is a Community Conversation?It is much like a front porch conversation with a neighbour. However, it has the purpose of searching for a common future.In simplest terms, a Community Conversation is people talking about something they care about.For the Envision Ford City project, each of the ten Community Conversation sessions were held café style with participants seated at a table with 3-5 others. Sessions were held at various times and days to allow ample opportunity for people to participate. In total, 72 individuals participated in 15 small groups to discuss and provide feedback on four questions.
  5. Some of you may be asking why we took this approach instead of a survey or open forum. It is because, in conversation we discover what we care about and uncover new ideas for building our community. In conversation we explore new concepts and new realities. We go beyond what we could have conceived on our own.Margaret Wheatley wrote that “There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.”Community Conversations was NOT about rehashing problems, or gathering together to complain. It was NOT about other people’s ideas or plans for Ford City, but about listening to the people of the community, building on their ideas and engaging in their meaning…. It is about Seeing THEIRvision for THEIR community, through THEIR eyes!Community Conversations allowed the people of Ford City to begin to dream together, and as this Brazilian Proverb says… When you dream alone,it remains just a dream.When you dream together,it is the beginning of a new reality.
  6. In each session the table groups discussed the following four questions.What do you like about Ford City? What is good about your community? What are the top ten words you would like people to use to describe Ford City in the Future?What businesses would you like to see in Ford City? Is there a theme or concept you envision?What could be done with vacant land in the community including the land between St. Luke and Walker?As a follow up, participants were also asked :What could be done with the individual in-fill lots in the community?What could be done with the former Holy Rosary church building?
  7. Each Community Conversation was attended by a mix of Ford City stakeholders including:ResidentsProperty ownersBusiness ownersOrganization leadersTeens,Parents with young children,Older adultsand persons with disabilities.
  8. After discussing a given question, a spokesperson from each table group reported the results back to the larger gathering for further discussion. Where appropriate, the Facilitator asked follow-up questions to gain clarity on the group’s response. All individual and group responses were recorded using a group response sheet, flip-chart notes and a staff note-taker.In the final analysis, group responses were tabulated according to the frequency of the group response and then further sorted by themes.
  9. The first questions for discussion was: What do you love about Ford City? What is good about your community?The most frequent responses to these questions were “the sense of community” (48), the “character” of the environment (39) and the amenities or services available (20). Overall, the participants indicated that Ford City has a strong sense of community with “friendly people,” who “look out for one another.” A less frequent, but notable response is that the neighbourhood has “potential” for revitalization (15).
  10. How did they describe these concepts?When speaking of a Sense of Community: Participants contrasted Ford City to the “typical” suburban subdivision. They expressed that Ford City had a “small town feel’, and that “people know each other.” Further, they stated that residents are quick “to rally together for a cause.” They also spoke passionately about the events the community has been able to host such as the community celebration of the opening of the splash pad and the recent fireworks and barbeque in Drouillard Park. Regarding Character: Participants made frequent mention of the murals that have been painted and installed in the community, providing a “creative”, “unique”, and “artistic character” or feel. They cited a long history of entrepreneurs and felt there is much “hidden talent” in the community. Participants also spoke passionately about the community’s place in history and the historical character of its buildings.
  11. Churches & Service Providers: There is a strong appreciation for the service providers in the community including: Drouillard Place, New Beginnings, Spirit of Excellence, and the Gino & Liz Marcus Community Complex. Participants stated that people could come to the community and expect to “get their needs met.” Further, participants expressed a strong appreciation for the churches and faith groups in the community. Several specifically mentioned New Song Church and the programs they offer. One participant stated they felt that “God hangs out here [on Drouillard].” Potential: Participants felt their community has a strong potential to grow due to the affordable space available for artists and new businesses. Further, they felt the community is already growing and improving and that “things are coming together,” through the efforts of individual property owners and groups like the FCNRC, the FCRAC and the FCRC.
  12. Question Two asked participants: What are the top ten words you would LIKE people to use to describe Ford City in the future?Participants expressed a strong vision for the future of their community utilizing words such as “vibrant”, “amazing”, “transformed”, “walkable”, and “unique.” As in Question 1, responses reflect that a high value is placed upon the people and social connections as well as the character of the physical environment. Participants expressed a strong desire to have Ford City seen as “safe” and “welcoming.” The words they hope will be used to describe the community fall into 6 categories: vibrant (34), safe (25), friendly (22), with character (22), an urban village (17) and transformed (14).
  13. How did they describe these concepts?Vibrant: The dominant theme presented for the future of Ford City, by participants was that of a “busy”, “bustling”, “active”, “alive”, and “moving” community. They stated they wanted people to think of it as a “fun”, “exciting”, “dynamic”, and “amazing” place, full of “opportunity.” Further they want to see a business district which is “thriving”, “successful”, and “prosperous.” Participants envision “streets bustling with people and activity.” They see a community where there is “never a dull moment”, with “lots of activities for everyone.” Safe: Safety and security were frequent themes in discussions on all questions. The participants recognize the community has a negative reputation for safety and would like that to change in the future. Groups stated that they wanted people to “feel welcome” in a “clean”, "beautiful”, “walkable”, and “relaxing” environment. They envision “beautiful homes that have been restored and are well-kept”, and a business district that has “lots of flowers and greenery”, “relaxing spaces and cafés.” Character: Many groups indicated they wanted the “rich character” of the community to be a hallmark of its identity in the future. They envision a “creative community of artisans,” with a strong “arts” feel where artists and the general public can interact. They also expressed a desire for the community to be a place “where history is celebrated,” “historic buildings restored,” and the public “educated through tours, heritage plaques and photo displays. “
  14. Friendly: Participants consistently identified “friendliness” as both a current condition and a trait they wanted their community to be known for in the future. Groups used the terms “nice”, “caring”, “helpful”, and “accommodating to people’s needs” to describe some of the social characteristics which they hope will be part of their future. Furthermore, they stated they want community members to remain “connected” to each other and “tight-knit.” In addition they strongly expressed a desire to have the community known as a “kid-friendly” or “family- friendly” place to live or visit. Transformed: Participants expressed a strong desire for change. They want Ford City to be seen as “building”, and “growing.” This includes having existing properties “restored or repurposed” as well as having the vacant lands in the community “developed so they contribute to the life of the community.” Several groups expressed pride in “how far [the community] has come” and would like people to see a “completely transformed Ford City” in the future. Further, groups indicated they would like Ford City to be “well-known” for “good things.” They would like their community to be “respected around the city” similar to other areas that have undergone transformation such as the Walkerville and Erie street areas.  Urban Village: Participants consistently expressed that they envision Ford City as an urban village, a place that is “a destination,” where people can “find unique items, they can’t get anywhere else.” They picture an “eclectic mix of shops”, “artistic storefronts” “cafes”, “craft vendors”, “live music and art”, and a “farmer’s market”. They also described a “place where you could walk to work and shop, like parts of Toronto or the San Francisco Arts District.”
  15. When asked what businesses they would like to see in the community, their responses represent both the practical and the visionary. Businesses that meet the daily needs of the people in any neighbourhood are desired in Ford City, such as a general store to buy small gifts or hardware items as well as a full-line grocery store to purchase less expensive food items, fruit, vegetables and meats. In addition, participants expressed a strong desire to see the business district become something distinct in the broader community.  Reflecting their desire to be known as an “urban village” or “arts district” the businesses they desire to see in the community both support and build upon this theme. Participants suggested: speciality shops (16 participants), cafe (16 participants), general store (14 participants), restaurant (14 participants), art spaces and shops (13 participants), museum (13 participants) and grocery store (12 participants).
  16. How did they describe these businesses?Specialty Shops: Participants expressed the desire for specialty shops and services including, a “hair salon” “candy shop”, “ice cream shop”, “chocolatier” and an “upscale thrift/resale shop.” As with many of the other types of stores indicated, participants expressed both a practical and visionary desire for these shops. They stated that these businesses would complement “the feel or vibe we want to create.” Café: Participants expressed a strong desire to have a “coffee shop,” or “café” where people could “simply relax” or possibly take in a “jam session or open mic[microphone] night.” They felt that a café would “draw people into the community” and that it would “create an urban village feel and be pedestrian-friendly”. Related to this, participants expressed a desire for a “bakery” and “deli”, as a place to purchase “an affordable sandwich with quality meats and fresh breads.” General Store: Many participants described the need for a store that would sell a variety of items at an affordable price. This store was referred to as a ”general store”, “dollar store”, “department store” or a “hardware store.” Participants stated that they wanted a place where they could purchase “nails”, “envelopes and stamps” and “small gifts.” Some groups expanded upon this and suggested that they would like to see a “mall” in the community, either on the vacant industrial lands or by “turn[ing] Drouillard Road into a mall.”
  17. Restaurant: Participants stated that they would like to have an “affordable,” “family-friendly,” restaurant. They envisioned a place where people could “grab a quick bite of lunch,” or “take the family without it costing a fortune.” Further, some groups imagined a “Bistro” with a higher quality of food that could draw people into the community and serve those they hope will “come into the neighbourhood for the arts and events.”Art Spaces and Shops: Participants described a wide variety of arts-related businesses, including “galleries”, “theatres”, “studio space”, “shops”, and “music or dance schools.” They envisioned a “community arts hub, a place to do, learn and display art for adults and kids.” Participants expressed that they felt that an arts theme would “draw in people,” and “give them a reason to hang around, eat and shop.” They also expressed that “artists are edgy and will put up with less than perfect living accommodations and community image.” Artists would “bring new energy to the community.” Creation of an arts community could also help fill housing with students from the University who will be attending school downtown at the new Visual Arts Centre or School of Social Work.” Museum: Several groups paired the arts theme with the community’s heritage and stated that the community should have a “museum” or “education centre.” Participants felt that Ford City would be the perfect place for a museum on the history of “the area,” “the automobile,” “manufacturing,” “the labour movement,” or even “the great lakes and maritime [shipping].”  Full-Line Grocery Store: Participants identified the need for a place to purchase “fresh fruit and vegetables,” at “less expensive” prices. Participants frequently expressed that they found it “difficult to get to the [existing] grocery stores,” and that they would like to have a grocery store in the community. Further, several groups suggested that a “farmer’s market” would be a good fit with community need and with the theme they envision. An “open-air market or bazaar would draw people into the community, and they would then stop for a coffee at a café or visit an art studio”.
  18. When asked if there was a theme or concept they envision for the commercial district participants identified four: an “artisan village” (20 participants), an “urban village” (17 participants), a “business incubator” (10 participants) and a “heritage district” (6 participants).
  19. How did they describe these themes?Artisan Village: As discussed earlier, the majority of participants described an arts hub or “artisan village” when discussing their vision for the future of the community. They compared their vision to “SOHO” in New York, the “Eastern Market” in Detroit, and “Kensington Market” in Toronto. They described a community where “artists and artisans live, work, conduct business and display their goods.” Participants stated that an Artisan Village would work well with the Urban Village theme that others had described and would “help create the vibe, or feel that an urban village needs.” Urban Village: When speaking of an urban village, groups used terms such as “small town,” “walkable,” “convenient,” “unique,” “eclectic,” and “specialty.” Participants described a compact business district with a “variety of specialty shops” that would “draw people from all over.” They frequently used communities like “St. Jacobs,” “Fergus,” and “Paris,” Ontario as examples of the business mix and feel they envision. Further, they described a community where people continue to be “in touch with each other and their heritage.” Business Incubator: Participants recognized the need for employment opportunities and expressed a desire to see “jobs created in Ford City.” They referred to the fact that “most jobs are created by new businesses,” and wanted to see Ford City become a “business incubator,” or “employment generator.” Further, they recognized that a stable business district is “diversified, with a variety of businesses.” To accomplish this, they suggested that the Ford City Business Improvement Association and FCRC seek ways to draw in “creative entrepreneurs,” and “new businesses.” Heritage District: Several groups pointed to the heritage of the community, describing a “bustling, 1930’s downtown,” with “buildings restored to their original facades.” They suggested that buildings could “have plaques placed on the front describing its original use,” and be added to a “tour guide for local history/heritage buffs.” As well, participants suggested that a museum would add significantly to the community and “draw people in, giving them a reason to visit.”
  20. Finally, question four revolved around what should be done with the various pieces of vacant land in the community. This was broken down by participants into three separate areas:The Former Holy Rosary ChurchVacant lots through-out the communityAnd the former industrial land between Walker Road and St. Luke.
  21. When asked what could be done with the former Holy Rosary Church the majority of participant groups (12) suggested an Arts Centre, while 10 suggested that the church could become a community museum.While not vacant land, participants in the first session identified this property as significant to the community. As such, the project facilitators included this as a follow-up question in all of the other sessions. Participants at all sessions expressed the importance of “preserving,” and “repurposing” this heritage building which then should “be used to benefit the community,” and “have an educational aspect to it.”
  22. How did they describe these uses?Arts Centre: Many groups envisioned Holy Rosary Church as a “shared arts space.” Participants suggested that the auditorium could become “the new home for the Windsor Symphony,” as well as open for “community theatre groups,” and “concerts.” They also suggested that the basement could be used as “an arts learning centre, where people of all ages can learn and create art.” Participants stated that sharing the space would make the facility “more financially viable.” Additionally, participants felt that this concept would work well with the museum described below, located in the basement. Museum: Throughout the Community Conversations participants discussed the importance of the community’s heritage and suggested that the former Holy Rosary would be the perfect facility for a museum. Participants suggested combining several concepts, such as “an automotive museum,” “a Ford Motor Company of Canada Museum,” “a great lakes or maritime museum,” “a manufacturing museum,” and a “labour movement museum.” Participants expressed that each of these would “draw people from across the country” to visit Ford City.
  23. Ford City currently has many vacant commercial and residential lots. When discussed vacant lots, group responses primarily referred to the vacant commercial properties in the community. As such the responses reflect participant suggestions for those lands. When asked what should be done with individual vacant properties in Ford City, the majority of participants (18) stated that these lands could be used for “new and revived commercial or residential”, while 6 participants suggested the land could be used for “arts and events” and 5 participants stated that there may be opportunities for “employment generating” projects (see Figure 6).
  24. How did they describe these uses?New and Improved Commercial or Residential: Several groups suggested that to build the kind of vibrant business district they envision, “new commercial spaces,” “parking,” and “housing” are needed. Existing properties must be improved with “the grass cut, old vehicles and garbage removed.” Participants expressed that new developments should “match the character of the community,” while providing the flexibility of new construction for business owners.  Arts/Events Space: Participants frequently referenced the current use of the Whelpton Parkette as a successful model of redevelopment. They suggested that several more vacant lots should be converted to “arts spaces for murals, living art walls, sculptures or outdoor concerts” like has been done in cities like Chicago, and Quebec City. Participants stated that this would help build the “artisan village/urban village” feel that they desire and would “attract more visitors.” Employment Generating: Participants recognized the need for employment generating activities and strongly suggested that these be placed in the vacant properties on Drouillard. They stated that these “new businesses would give people jobs and draw people to the area.”
  25. The former industrial lands between Walker and St. Luke Roads presented participants with a more difficult consideration as many recognized that its previous use may have left contamination and they were unsure what, if anything, could be built on these lands. While a significant majority wanted to see new development on the land, many indicated that recreational use may be the only option. All participants stated that better use of these lands would open the community up to the rest of the city, allowing people from outside the community to more easily visit Ford City. As previously noted, the majority of participants (10) stated that the land should be used for recreation, while 7 suggested building housing on these lands, 6 expressed there may be opportunity to develop employment generating projects and 5 recommended developing commercial space.
  26. How did they describe these uses?Recreational Space: Many groups indicated that they would like to the see the space developed, but that it was “impossible.” As such, they suggested recreational uses that would “connect the community with the rest of the city”, including walking/biking trails, an outdoor theatre, urban camping, baseball diamonds, and an outdoor roller rink. Participants felt that by creating a “community recreational space,” in conjunction with a “new riverfront park on the Ford lands,” it would anchor the community and draw people up the street, much like the beach does in Grand Bend.” Housing: Several groups suggested these lands be used to develop new housing. They suggested that it be “geared-to-income,” or “mixed-income” to help meet the need in the City of Windsor and maintain the character of the community. Participants felt that additional housing would provide a “larger base of support for local businesses,” and “more eyes on the street,” to improve safety and security. Employment Generating: Many groups stated that they would like to see the land redeveloped in such a way as to “create jobs.” They stated that they saw the potential to develop “light industrial like on Rhodes drive,” “a business incubator park like they have in Waterloo,” or a “green farming hub with greenhouses growing organic produce.”  Commercial/Institutional: Some groups expressed that the land should house new commercial space “a plaza like what was put on the industrial lands at MacDougal and Tecumseh.” Others suggested that the land be used to attract new institutions like “a campus for the University or College” or “a nursing home.”
  27. Several themes became evident as each group provided feedback through the Community Conversation process including: Safety and security: Overwhelmingly, participants indicated that they wanted a safe and secure community. Whether described in terms of crime reduction or property improvement, they indicated that they wanted to have a community where they could comfortably walk up and down the streets. They reiterated they want a community that is free of the stigma and stereotypes attached to the community and where people are comfortable to visit, shop and live. Community Connectivity: Participants strongly value their social connections and see these as a key part of the redevelopment efforts. While they recognize that they will require government and corporate support to achieve their goals of revitalization, they want to be active partners in the rebuilding process and cited the FCRA as a one way for the community to have a voice. They suggested that the social connections can be strengthened and enhanced is so that their community will be known as a caring, connected community that embraces people from all walks of life and helps residents achieve a successful life. Activity generation: Participants recognize that the community needs people to visit and conduct business to make the business district viable. They frequently referred to increasing foot traffic and envision a bustling community where people from outside the community come to visit. Whether it is through increased housing, unique businesses, arts and recreation activities or new business ventures, participants want to see a significant increase in the number of people who are in Ford City on any given day. Thriving commercial corridor: Participants recognize that the feel of the business district forms the sense of community surrounding it. They consistently stated that they want Ford City to be a prosperous, urban village with a strong arts and heritage theme. They envision Ford City as "memorable and remarkable." "It has got its own personality, its own signature. When people are on that block, they know where they are. It's so rich that I could take 500 walks up and down the sidewalk and every time I take that walk I see something new" (Jarvis, 2011).
  28. Thirty-one recommendations have been included in the final report, however, the Community Conversations confirmed the majority of the recommendations contained in previous planning and community reports. This is an important conclusion as it provides the FCRP and FCRC with a blueprint for change that is supported by all stakeholders. The full list of recommendations is included in your report.Five new recommendations emerged from the Community Conversations: Evaluate, mitigate, and redevelop the former industrial lands between Walker and St. Luke Roads Repurpose the former Holy Rosary Church into a shared community arts and heritage Centre Redevelop the Ford City Business District into an Urban Artisan Village with a strong heritage theme Execute a program to foster positive community self-image and vision Develop a set of financial incentives for current and future investorsIn order to facilitate the successful achievement of these recommendations, participants advised the community to:Form an Arts and Heritage Advisory Panel made of representative from the arts and heritage community to advise on the development of Ford City as an Artisan Village and Heritage Community.Gather, and curate Ford City memorabilia, photographs and historic documents, ensuring they are properly documented and stored for future use.Re-establish a Ford City Discovery Centre or Ford City Museum.
  29. What come next?The Community Conversations process confirmed that the residents and other key stakeholders share the same vision. This is critical at a time when there is such a synergy of efforts by community groups, recommendations by experts, engagement of the community and favourable public policy. The next step is to continue to build the community’s social capital and secure the public and private investments that will be necessary to make the community’s vision a reality. Given Ford City’s bold and visionary thinking, community engagement and diverse partnerships, Ford City can become the “best place to live, work, worship and play.”Thank-you so much for making the time to attend. Your participation demonstrates to the world that this community is ready to pursue a better future.The FCRC, the FCNR and their staff, Karlene and Steve will work with funders, government and most importantly, YOU, to help bring the dream to reality.I encourage you to remain engaged, working with them to create the Ford City you described in our conversations.