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New Patio-Focused CIP Programs Seeks to Inspire More Growth

On June 28, 2021, Chatham-Kent Council reinstated, and is once again providing funding, for the the Cafes, Patios, Display Areas and Court Yards Program under the Downtown Community Improvement Plan. The program offers assistance to property owners who are undertaking the construction of permanent cafes, patios, display areas, or court yards accessory to the commercial use, that are consistent with design guidelines approved by the Municipality.

The grant amount is 50% of the construction cost to a maximum grant of $10,000 per application, which can be used to offset design and other professional costs and construction costs. The grant will be paid to property owner following successful completion of the approved work.

This CIP is limited to downtown and main street areas as defined by the boundaries outlined in a document available on the website. As well, the corresponding application form is also available on the website listed in the Programs & Grants section.

“This is an excellent opportunity for businesses such as restaurants and café’s to help create an expanded outdoor experience in our downtown core’s across Chatham-Kent,” said Jamie Rainbird, Manager of Chatham-Kent Economic Development. “While the impact of COVID has been a struggle for many businesses, we are hoping that the lessons learned and pivots made over the past year and a half will bring about many constructive changes.”

Rainbird added, “We have heard a great deal of positive feedback from the community so far with developments such as the Chilled Cork’s new patio, which qualified for this program, and hope to hear more stories of other quality investments.”

From a tourism perspective, the availability of new outdoor patio space is being seen as a progressive step for the region.

“When people are travelling, even within their own region, they are looking for a patio experience and as part of their summer plans. COVID has driven the need for patios and helped to prove that there is a demand,” said Shannon Paiva, “The need for patios won’t be going away. From the hyper-local experience of travelling within Chatham-Kent or when we soon begin welcoming people from other communities, patios in our downtowns will play an important role for driving new tourism activity.”

As part of supporting local patios, Chatham-Kent Tourism has developed a listing of patios across Chatham-Kent. This list is available on their website

“As a reminder, before any new patios are constructed, we remind business owners to reach out to the Municipal Planning Department and begin conversations about their idea,” said Greg Houston, Planner. “This program only applies to new construction and we want to ensure that people are informed of the process.”

For more information, please visit

Media Contact

Eric Labadie

Marketing and Communications Officer
Economic Development Services, Community Development
Municipality of Chatham-Kent
124 Thames Street, Chatham, ON N7M 5K8
Phone: 519-784-0307