03/02/06 — Grants available for storefront facelifts

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Grants available for storefront facelifts

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on March 2, 2006 2:07 PM

Some downtown businessowners whose storefronts need a makeover might be able to get some help with the renovation costs from the Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp.

The DGDC's Facade Incentive Grant Program has already helped numerous businesses downtown turn back the clock, giving aging brick, awnings and signs a new look.

DGDC executive director Julie Thompson said so far this year, more than $9,000 has been spent toward "storefront facelifts."

The Family Shoe Store recently received $7,000, Ms. Thompson said.

"And we have already budgeted $47,000 for projects that have been approved for this year," she said.

Not all projects are eligible for funding. Only the owner or tenant of a commercial building located within the Municipal Service Tax District (MSD) may apply for assistance.

The MSD was established in the 1970s by Goldsboro City Council. While it has no easily describable boundaries, much of the property that falls into the district is located downtown.

The grant money for the projects comes from a tax of 25 cents for every $100 in taxable property value for those buildings and properties that fall within the MSD.

Mrs. Thompson said there have been some major facade projects completed in the past few years, and the fact that money is available gives businesses downtown an incentive to do the work -- a little paint here, a new sign there.

But like all grant money, businesses have to work for it and meet certain criteria to get it, Ms. Thompson said. These criteria include making sure plans respect the architectural integrity of the building, conform to building codes and are appropriate for downtown as a whole.

Mrs. Thompson added that because the application is a process many simply don't have time for, the DGDC can help. In some cases, they will even come up with the plans.

"The fact that we're here to help in that respect is good," she said.

Those stores that asked for help are seeing beautiful results, she said, and leaving some neighboring store owners envious of the new looks popping up around the downtown area.

"The neighboring businesses want to be up to par," she said. "Nobody wants to be the ugly duckling on the block."

For more information on the DGDC Facade Incentive Grant Program, contact the DGDC, located at 218 E. Walnut St.