Southtown Grand Rapids aims to come alive with a new grant program.
The Southtown Corridor Improvement Authority recently launched a new façade improvement program to enhance the curb appeal of commercial buildings in the area. Business owners can apply for financial reimbursement of up to $10,000 for upgrades or alterations to their building exteriors.
The corridor improvement board is hopeful the initiative will help local business growth and enhance the experience of residents and area customers.
“A vibrant façade improvement program is one of many tools in Grand Rapids and across the country that have been used to stimulate and expand local business districts,” said Grand Rapids Third Ward Commissioner Senita Lenear, a member of the Southtown CIA board. “By financially partnering with Third Ward business owners, we intend to strengthen the Southtown commercial core and stimulate local entrepreneurship.”
Major exterior enhancements such as new windows and signage, as well as the installation of and other major exterior enhancements, are eligible for the program. Applicable properties must be located within the Southtown CIA boundary and contain an active commercial business or open a business within six months.
Applicants must be current on city taxes and must not owe other city fees prior to filing an application.
Business owners leasing space can apply with written permission from the property owner. General maintenance and upkeep of existing exterior are not included in this program.
Additionally, the property in question must not be targeted for redevelopment.
Submitted applications will be evaluated to determine their ability to advance the goals of the Tax Increment Financing and Development Plan, with a specific focus on commercial buildings. The Southtown CIA will fund project elements and enhancements in addition to what is required by the city of Grand Rapids and which are deemed to be privately owned.
The Southtown CIA board has allocated $100,000 of its fiscal 2020 budget to the program.
Budget resources include tax increment revenues, prior year appeal adjustments, general fund Third Ward support and interest on investments. The total resources in the Southtown CIA’s FY2020 budget amount to $404,000.
The Southtown CIA represents the Alger Heights, Boston Square, Eastern and Franklin, Madison Square, Seymour Square and Division South business districts. The board consists of nine members, each serving a term of four years.