Imagine Chatham-Kent

Background

Last spring it was announced a group of local investors had purchased the Downtown Chatham Centre property.

On June 28, 2021 Municipal Council directed administration “to prepare a report regarding options for relocation or redevelopment of municipal assets including, but not limited to, the Civic Centre as part of the plans to redevelop the Downtown Chatham Centre property”. Shortly afterwards, administration issued a survey on behalf of the local investors group to solicit ideas from the public on how the DCC site can be developed for future use (Share Your Ideas-Downtown Chatham Centre).

Subsequent to this public engagement, the investors – collectively referred to as the Community Partners in the Imagine Chatham-Kent proposal - commissioned an architectural firm, at their cost, to prepare a preliminary design concept for the redevelopment of the DCC site. Although referred to as the Community Partners, no formal partnership has been entered into with the Municipality.

A video presentation of the Imagine Chatham-Kent preliminary design concept can be viewed below.

On June 13, 2022 Municipal Council directed administration to continue with a public engagement process to solicit feedback on the Imagine Chatham-Kent proposal in its presented form. Administration was also directed to begin a due diligence process to determine capital cost estimates of the Community Hub and Entertainment Complex, in conjunction with a review of the proposal’s scope and assumptions. Information will be reported back to Council at a later date.


Background

Last spring it was announced a group of local investors had purchased the Downtown Chatham Centre property.

On June 28, 2021 Municipal Council directed administration “to prepare a report regarding options for relocation or redevelopment of municipal assets including, but not limited to, the Civic Centre as part of the plans to redevelop the Downtown Chatham Centre property”. Shortly afterwards, administration issued a survey on behalf of the local investors group to solicit ideas from the public on how the DCC site can be developed for future use (Share Your Ideas-Downtown Chatham Centre).

Subsequent to this public engagement, the investors – collectively referred to as the Community Partners in the Imagine Chatham-Kent proposal - commissioned an architectural firm, at their cost, to prepare a preliminary design concept for the redevelopment of the DCC site. Although referred to as the Community Partners, no formal partnership has been entered into with the Municipality.

A video presentation of the Imagine Chatham-Kent preliminary design concept can be viewed below.

On June 13, 2022 Municipal Council directed administration to continue with a public engagement process to solicit feedback on the Imagine Chatham-Kent proposal in its presented form. Administration was also directed to begin a due diligence process to determine capital cost estimates of the Community Hub and Entertainment Complex, in conjunction with a review of the proposal’s scope and assumptions. Information will be reported back to Council at a later date.


Public Feedback

This area is available for members of the public to provide comment until 4pm on Friday, July 15, 2022. Please share your initial thoughts, concerns, or ideas regarding the Imagine Chatham-Kent proposal.

A Frequently Asked Questions area has been prepared on the right side of this screen (scroll down if on mobile). The FAQ will be updated should information be available to address questions posed on this forum. 

A summary of the Public Feedback will be provided to Council in a future report.

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Lovely proposal and great vision, using Chatham’s best known voice in Greg Hetherington to really put the push on this project backed by the old boys club. But why aren’t we asking a few more questions about how and why this has moved through council how it has?

- where was the public Request For Proposal to open this same proposal opportunity up to other companies?
- why is council entertaining the idea of paying rent to a single company without first allowing others to come in for the opportunity to do the same?
-where is our Integrity Commissioner, Mary Ellen Bench, to look into why council is considering this offer without going through the typical council sessions for public debate?
- How is it that a couple rich guys have a monopoly on our City Hall’s motivations?
-why will public tax payers of Chatham Kent be footing the rental bills of a private company?

“The community Hub will be CK’s new library, art gallery, museum, and civic centre.” This isn’t receiving a third party’s advertising proposal, this is sniffing the sheets before crawling in to bed with the big wigs, but without going through the proper processes we have in place to weed out corruption that is the job of a democratically elected council.

It seems our elected officials are ooh’d and aah’d by their friends who already own most of the city. Why aren’t they doing the ethical thing and making this proposal available to others so the citizens represented by council of Chatham-Kent can have a choice on what is actually best for them. Which this very well might be, but why aren’t we upholding the same standards that is the foundation of our local government instead of being bought out by the almighty dollar?

ThisIsQuestionable 3 months ago

It is great that we have these people who want to restore Chatham. Looks like it will be fantastic for our downtown.
Ruth

Ruth 3 months ago

It looks beautiful and I hope I can live to see these results.

Valery 3 months ago

So are suggesting we put the library and museum where the mall is and turn a strip of downtown to the shopping strip?
I think we need more large retailers around. Everything in an hour away - we would be a perfect smack dab in the middle for a Costco or better yet an Ikea - drive in sales from all around us. We need a mall, a real mall. Food court, Urban Planet, Old Navy, Indigo, or high end names like Lulu, Gucci, Coach. These things would drive tourism from Wallaceburge and Godrich. People wouldnt have to drive to Windsor or London for a decent mall.
Or how about adding more entertainment to the city, put a bowling ally, a more up beat mini golf course, a more modern movie theater- things that families like to do - then maybe they would invest in moving to Chatham if there was more to offer.
Chatham has a college, but nothing around that college kids would enjoy doing. Do we have a decent bar? A place for youth or fmailies to go and hang out? how about throwing a Rec Room in the mall.
I undertsand that updating the public library or creating a museum is a very community derived idea - but spend a few dollars upgrading the ones we have to something a little more welcoming and less grungy - but put the money into reviving the city and giving it worth. Like someone mentioned an indoor pool - that would be good but only is admirable to a certain sector of people - and a 20 minute drive to Wallaceburg isnt as bad as an hour to everything else.
Also - why dont we put some funding towards the drug problem Chatham has? As a 24 year old who hopes to bring a family in this city - these would be my hopes.

aroballo 3 months ago

I believe that if a group, such as this, has a vision to improve, revitalize move the downtown core in a positive, instead of stagnate, direction everyone should be on board and make this as seamless as possible. There is far too much red tape, bickering and stalling when it comes to being progressive. This includes elected officials and people with pet peeves. Our downtown needs refreshing for businesses and citizens alike. It once was, and could be again, a beautiful place to go if we don't stand in the way.

M Green 3 months ago

Wonderful idea, all in favour, a few comments though:
- Let's go, let's be a leader, the past is the past, we don't make many buggy whips anymore, life has moved on
- Hopefully the vision will unite most of north and south Chatham, most rural and urban C-K citizens, these north/south and rural/urban divisions have to end, we can't afford the costs associated with the divisions
- We all knew a new arena would eventually be built just needed an acceptable vision to bring it to fruition
- We all knew a replacement for the Civic Centre and Library would come, again just needed an acceptable vision
- Ironic that the proposed new Civic Centre is slated for Harrison Hall site
- I've lived in Chatham for over 45 years, parking in downtown has always been a problem, any proposal needs to address that, not only for the entertainment centre but also for shopping
- Let's make sure that other C-K owned properties are sold and staff is consolidated, let's use technology to replace people and buildings in rural areas, again we can't afford the status quo.

thewoodlot 3 months ago

How much money has been wasted in the Capital Theatre that will become empty once this project goes through? There was a proposal years ago for a twin pad area which is what is needed in Chatham at the former Navistar site that was turned down as to expensive. One seated area with no practice pad attached is a waste of time and money. Chatham needs to look no further then the Altas Tube centre in Belle River for the model needed. Library, walking track, multiple rinks, gym and indoor pool.... all of what should and could be placed at Navistar.

t-dot 3 months ago

Huge thank you to this forward thinking team. This may be the most significant project Chatham will see in years. The team believe in CK and our community, let's not let this opportunity slip away folks.

Roebuck 3 months ago

I think it's a great concept, but it's missing some things. An indoor pool would be great, the YMCA is too small for public swims and having to travel to Blenheim or Wallaceburg is difficult at times. An indoor play area like Windsor or London has would be beneficial to the community as well. We also can't afford to have our taxes go up even higher because of something like this, we already pay ridiculous high taxes for a municipality of this size.

Girlmama33 3 months ago

Why is there no projected cost to the municipality yet?
Can the current downtown infrastructure carry the increased load? If not what is the cost of those upgrades?
What is the timeline to build this project?
How much intrusion to the downtown will this project cause?
How will all of this construction effect the ability of police, fire, and EMS to operate.
How will all of this construction effect traffic flow in the rest of Chatham?
What operational efficiencies will be gained from this project and how will those gains (if any) be reallocated?
With the DCC parking lot being retained by the "community partners" for other development how will the municipality accommodate the increased need for parking after selling the current civic center and it's parking garage?
If there is no funding from senior levels of government how will the municipality pay for it's portion of this project?
Who decides what "turn key" really means?
What happens if the "community partners" are unable to finish the project?
The June 13, 2022 report to council had no robust debate on this project. Will this be the norm or can we expect more than that at future council meetings?

larry g hutchins 3 months ago

The project as presented in the Chatham Daily News looks fantastic. Chatham needs something like this to make the city presentable to additional new investment and residents. We should be grateful that we have this group willing to invest this kind of money in Chatham. Our new CAO should crunch the numbers and if it makes sense - full speed ahead. Chatham needs this.

Mbfhky 3 months ago

I so look forward to a revitalization of downtown Chatham, and with the backing of this amazing group of people, it can happen! They have the vision and the heart to bring life back to the downtown area. The design looks fantastic and offers something for everyone. Hoping and praying this comes to fruition! Sending a huge thank you to this group of caring, talented, and energetic professionals!

CathyS 3 months ago

It has been said many times that a new arena complex would be a twin pad. The city would then close both Memorial and Erickson because of high renovation costs. Would this new concept then mean the we refurbish one of those arenas after all?

Patty 3 months ago

Waste of taxpayers money.

larry richie 3 months ago

Very excited for this project, if anybody can do it, it’s this group. Fantastic design. You can really tell a lot of thought and planning has gone into this, they have all of CK in mind.

S.Clarke 4 months ago

I hope they are putting in some good thoughts towards our Cenotaph, and bringing it back somewhat to how it use to be... RESPECTED. Just find some old postcards of our Cenotaph and see just how well cared AND kept up it once was. Shameful how our City has let it go. It is a century old next November... get on it and FIX it up in time for that at least!! Lest we forget.

30mmavenger 4 months ago

I am grateful that this team has chosen to invest in Chatham-Kent. This project will breathe new life into our downtown core and will bring new jobs. I look forward to hearing how it will come to fruition and whether payment by The Municipality, at least in part, will come in the form of a land swap for the properties that will be vacated when they move to this new site, namely the Civic Centre, the Library and Cultural Centre. No matter what, the citizens need to get behind this to ensure its success. One thing I’d like to see is an area (in that open area outside, between the old Sears and the former mall) that’s similar to the spot at Gretzky’s winery in Niagara that has a pond/fountains in the warm months and an outdoor ice rink in the winter months with seating all around it. I envision it as a great spot for families and friends to gather for some fun, and think it would be utilized year-round. Thank you to the visionaries who have the ideas AND the money to make this happen and who are willing to take this on. There will always be naysayers but I support this plan and look forward to hearing more details as they become available. #TeamCK all the way!

CKFan 4 months ago

What about an indoor playground or area for younger kids, specially when it’s winter or raining or very humid hot summer days when it’s too hot to be outside(like today June 15th). It would be a huge hit, us parents are having to travel to Windsor or London to be able to let kids play at an indoor play area.
Please consider.
If you did a poll for popularity I can guarantee is would have phenomenal feedback.

Dsharp132 4 months ago

Great Bold Vision For Downtown Chagham Kent.
Will # 1 FireHall Remain at King & Second Sts. ?
Will the Consortium takle Over City Hall for Condos along the
Thames River.?

Don Roskamp 4 months ago

This property has been a mistake from the beginning, never should have been built, but money talks, anyway a new arena is needed not a new library, this was voted on by the people of chatham many years ago arena won and we got a new library, don't screw us over again, forget the library build the biggest arena possible on that land

John Rehner 4 months ago
Page last updated: 24 Aug 2022, 09:02 AM