The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

September 27, 2013

Grants available for downtown improvement

BY JOHN H. WALKER
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER

TARBORO — Applications are now being accepted from downtown property owners for the Façade Improvement Grant Program. Applications are available at Town Hall at the office of Town Planner Josh Edmondson.

Edmondson said the project, designed to promote economic development in downtown, is funded with a $4,000 grant from Electricities Smart Communities program and $4,000 budgeted by the town council.

The program is a 50 percent matching grant program, meaning that the amount of the grant will be equal to 50 percent of the cost of the improvement with a maximum award of $2,000.

“Downtown is very important to the community and is a huge economic development tool,” Edmondson said. “We have some very dedicated business owners who want to grow.”

Funds for the program are limited this first year, but Edmondson said he hoped the level of participation would allow for an increase in available monies.

To be considered business operators and property owners must make application. The applications must include a detailed description of the project as well as at least five color photographs of the existing façade. Also, a design plan and sketches must be included along with an itemized project cost estimate and a letter of permission for project participation from the property owner.

“In the instances where the business operator is not the property owner, we just want to know that the owner is supportive,” Edmondson said.

The Tarboro Main Street Façade Committee will review applications. “It will be made up of people we’ve sought out who have and interest and background in architecture and will not include any town employee.

“We want it to be (a) very fair (process).”

Eligibility guidelines include:

• Any property owner or business tenant located in the Central Business District on Main Street and between West Wilson and the Roundabout is eligible to apply.

• Private dwellings are not eligible unless they originally functioned as a commercial building.

• Only one application may be submitted for each façade per calendar year.

• Owners of multiple properties shall only be eligible for one façade grant per calendar year.

• If a building has multiple units, each tenant with a separate entrance may apply.

• A business tenant must obtain the property owner’s written consent for façade renovation and must submit it with the application.

Grants are awarded on a first-come basis subject to available monies and applicants must first meet with Edmondson, as program administrator, to review preliminary plans and requirements.

Persons interested in the program or wanting more information are asked to contact Edmondson at 641-4249 or by email at jedmondson@tarboro-nc.com.