Free Money for Downtown Restoration

19 Feb 2014

Downtown Revitalization

The Façade Improvement Project grant is a joint effort of the City of Holdrege, the Holdrege Chamber of Commerce and PCDC and part of the larger Downtown Revitalization Project.

We have $225,000 to spend on downtown façade improvements by October 2015. Applications are starting to come in, so all interested parties are encouraged to apply now.

The grants are intended to help business owners restore or renovate their store-fronts to encourage customers to step inside, and the changes should help with the overall appearance and vitality of downtown Holdrege.

Grant applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Those turned in by the 10th of each month will be reviewed and approved or denied by the 25th of the month. The Façade Improvement committee, made up of representatives from the City, the Chamber and PCDC is encouraging business owners to focus on restoration when considering façade improvements.

According to the application, restoration “results in the return of the facade to its original appearance through the use of authentic materials and the replication of missing or deteriorated concepts.”

Property owners are encouraged to remove features such as metal awnings, aluminum and vinyl siding, and stucco and to instead preserve historic features. Historic photos can be found at the library or at the Nebraska Prairie Museum.

Interior renovation costs may be considered as the match for the façade improvement grant. For example, a business could spend $5,000 on the inside to upgrade flooring, lighting or HVAC and then get grant money up to the same amount to make upgrades to the exterior.

Qualifying interior renovations include historic restoration of interior features; compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act; plumbing, mechanical, electrical and HVAC; hazardous materials abatement; internal windows, doors, flooring and lighting.

Building owners may apply for grants of up to 50 percent of the improvement costs with a maximum of $25,000 per grant for the exterior enhancements. Interior enhancements must be matched with an exterior enhancement project. No grant money will be awarded for interior enhancements.

The grants are for businesses located in the downtown area stretching from the railroad tracks north to 6th Avenue and from Garfield Street west to Grant Street.

PCDC has committed $160,000 of the LB840 sales tax funds to make up the bulk of the $225,000 Façade Improvement Program grant. The remaining monies are part of the larger award from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development to be used toward Downtown Revitalization.

The larger Downtown revitalization project involves the City and the Holdrege Chamber of Commerce working together to develop plans on renovating the sidewalks and lighting between 3rd and 5th and on East and West Avenues. By October of 2015, our downtown will be enhanced greatly. The grant funds are making it possible for Holdrege to revitalize the downtown area making it more appealing for shoppers and potential new business owners.

For more information or an application on Façade Improvement, contact Carol at PCDC at 995-4148, or Katie Ostgren at the Chamber at 995-4444. Applications should be submitted to PCDC at 502 East Ave., on the second floor of the City Building.