Grant Money to Help Restore Mile on High Retail

Last night, City Council approved a new program that would offer a total of $100,000 in facade improvement grants for Downtown retailers. Individual businesses are eligible for grants of up to $5,000 each, and must match the funds one-to-one on projects that would fix up their storefronts.

“Small matching grants can have a huge impact on the way a business looks and the way our entire downtown area attracts customers,” said Mayor Coleman in a press release issued yesterday. “This is another part of our commitment to economic development in the heart of Columbus and we look forward to working with business owners to implement these facade improvements.”

The “Mile on High” district was announced in Mayor Coleman’s 2008 State of the City Address as a zone targeted for special retail redevelopment incentives. The area is bounded by Spring, Third, Mound, and Front Streets, representing the core of the city’s central business district. Several business in this area have already received tax break deals in 2008, and Suggardaddy’s and Barrio are the first two businesses to receive $5,000 facade grants this year.

The grant funds are being reallocated from the Urban Site Acquisition Loan Fund to the Economic Development Division for the facade improvement program.

[Local Resource Database – State & Local Governmental Resources]

“This incentive program is important because it helps small, independent businesses cover the cost of signage, awnings, and other basic exterior improvements,” said Cleve Ricksecker, Executive Director of CCSID, in a press release issued yesterday. “It also helps market downtown to the hundreds of retailers that might be thinking about a new store location.”

Businesses interested in applying for these facade grants should contact the City of Columbus, Department of Development, Economic Development Division at 614-645-8616.

(This article was originally published on December 15, 2009 on ColumbusUnderground.com)