Siler City nonprofit announces grant money for building improvements

Posted 8/18/21

SILER CITY — The Siler City Development Organization has renewed its facade grant program for another year as part of the organization’s larger effort to revitalize the town’s aesthetic and …

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Siler City nonprofit announces grant money for building improvements

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SILER CITY — The Siler City Development Organization has renewed its facade grant program for another year as part of the organization’s larger effort to revitalize the town’s aesthetic and stimulate new economic growth.

Grants between $500 and $2,500 are available to downtown building owners who can demonstrate plans to improve front, side or rear building facades that are visible from the street. Potential projects include replacing doors or windows, replacing or adding new awnings, refreshing paint, repointing bricks and landscaping, according to SCDO’s grant program guidelines.

Most buildings between the downtown train tracks and Third Street (running west to east) and between Fourth Street and Chestnut Street (running north to south) qualify for consideration.

“The SCDO board feels that the program is a big return on investment,” said Siler City Planning Director Jack Meadows, who is president of SCDO’s board of directors. “A big part of SCDO’s mission is to help with revitalizing the town, and obviously a part of that bigger picture is improving the appearance of the downtown buildings.”

Since 2013 SCDO has partnered with various organizations and private donors to supply facade grant funds. Over the program’s nine years, almost $55,000 have been dispensed for downtown improvement projects, according to data Meadows shared with the News + Record. About $25,000 has come from the N.C. Small Town Economic Prosperity initiative, with private donors contributing most of the rest. SCDO — a nonprofit “committed to making Siler City a thriving place to live, work and play” — only dispenses the money.

So far, $8,500 is available for 2021, but SCDO is still accepting donations.

As per the program’s guidelines, grants funds may cover no more than 50% of an approved facade improvement project — a stipulation which Meadows says has inspired more than $100,000 in downtown investment over the last decade.

“So if $1,000 is granted, you know at least $2,000 has been spent in downtown,” he said. “So, of course, that’s more money than actually was given by grant. You know you’re going to get back more value than just the money that was issued.”

SCDO also encourages grant recipients to keep the money within Siler City’s local economy.

“It means somebody is getting some work,” Meadows said. “There are hopefully local contractors and vendors that are making income off of this.”

And as more improvement projects complete, SCDO expects businesses and residents across town will mutually benefit.

“These kinds of things can seem little, but they’re not cheap to do, and they make a big difference in giving the town a more welcoming appearance,” Meadows said. “SCDO and the board of commissioners have really prioritized revitalization, and this is part of that.”

Project applications may be submitted to Meadows via email at jmeadows@silercity.org or by mail to City Hall, 311 N. 2nd Ave., Attn: Town of Siler City Director of Planning and Community Development. Applications must include a detailed written explanation and description of the project; the total cost and projected date of completion (no longer than four months from receipt of funds); design plans, drawings or sketches of the proposed improvements; two detailed and itemized quotes of the project cost; current color photographs of the proposed project; and paint samples or color schemes of the colors to be used, if applicable.

The deadline for application submissions is 12 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 10.

“The SCDO board has thought these have been successful and are excited to continue it on,” Meadows said. “... We hope some more money might still be coming in, and after a hard year for business, we hope these can do some good for downtown business owners.”

Reporter D. Lars Dolder can be reached at dldolder@chathamnr.com and on Twitter @dldolder.

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