SILER CITY — Business owners in Siler City will have the opportunity to apply for either a Downtown Building Rehab grant or a Downtown Façade grant through the Siler City Development Organization (SCDO).
Community Development Director Jack Meadows said these grants will allow business owners to request up to $2,500 from the SCDO for revitalization or renovations for downtown buildings.
“Facade grants and building rehab grants are an idea that had been around for a long time in other communities,” Meadows said. “These grants encourage property owners, merchants and residents to enhance, preserve and promote a downtown area and to promote downtown’s unique character and identity.”
The grant program through SCDO started in 2013, but isn’t always available because of the funds needed to fulfill requests. This year’s grants are funded through donations from individuals in town and a grant from Duke Energy, according to Meadows.
Two types of grants are bein offered by SCDO: the downtown façade grant and the downtown building rehab grant. The façade grant would “provide matching grants to encourage improvements and/or upgrades to the exterior of downtown buildings to make them more attractive for new, existing and expanding businesses,” according to the application. The rehab grants are designed to “encourage property owners, merchants, and residents to recognize, enhance, preserve, and promote a downtown area’s unique character and identity.”
Meadows said the grants allow for the town to invest in Siler City businesses as a part of its goal to help preserve the character of downtown.
“Downtown is one of those places and locations in town that has been defined as a priority for redevelopment,” he said. “I think that’s the encouragement behind supporting façade grants and doing rehab grants to rehabilitate those underutilized, vacant buildings and also improve the appearance of downtown.”
Each application requires the business owners to include construction drawings, proposed project budgets, two or more quotes from contractors for the project and proof of ownership or executed lease with the landlord’s consent.
From there, the SCDO board of directors will review through each application before signing off on approving the funds. The grants are available on a first-come, first-serve basis until the funds run out, according to Meadows.
“Once I received the application, I package it up and share it with the SCDO board and discusse it in their monthly meetings,” he said. “They make a decision on what to award and how much to award.”
Meadows said the $2,500 limit may not be enough to entirely fund a single project a business may propose, but it at least allows for more businesses to receive support from the town.
By giving more businesses a set amount, Meadows said the town would in turn see a greater “return on its investment.”
“We could invest $10,000 into a single application, or we could give four good applications $2,500 and each one of them would be able to do a project,” he said. “That’s another thing these grants could do: give the town a great return on its investment through these programs.”
The SCDO grant programs are crucial in preserving and restoring downtown Siler City, according to Meadows. He said the town’s investment in its historic districts is essential to providing a vibrant atmosphere in Siler City.
“A lot of downtown is on the National Register of Historic Places,” Meadows said. “It was originally a commercial corridor of downtown and we’d like to maintain that as a commercial mixed use corridor as well. Folks are promoting and investing in downtown and will encourage you to extend that to new development.”
Business owners interested in applying for SCDO’s building rehab or facade grants can contact Meadows at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Reporter Taylor Heeden can be reached at email@example.com.