The city is encouraging downtown businesses to make improvements to the front of their buildings.
The initiative is part of the city’s new downtown facade improvement project which aims to make the area a more attractive and walkable place for residents and tourists.
The project captures businesses from between Roberts Reach to the north and 6th Avenue to the south and stretches as far west as Dogwood Street and 9th Avenue.
Ross Blackwell, the city’s land use manager, said the program will provide an incentive for business owners to improve their store fronts and at the same time, the overall feel and messaging of the city’s primary business area.
“The proposed program would encourage commercial building owners and/or tenants to invest in eligible storefront upgrades/renovations by providing matching grants to cover renovation costs up to a $10,000 maximum amount,” Blackwell wrote in a report to council.
“This program is intended to make city streets a more inviting and interesting place to walk and shop, help building owners attract and retain tenants, build civic pride among the local business community, contribute to the quality of life of residents, workers and visitors, and promote the marketability of the local business area.”
The city budgeted $50,000 this year for the program and $25,000 in the following years. All of the funds are to come from the city’s gaming reserve, rather than from taxpayers.
Renovations covered under the program include exterior architectural and decorative details, windows, exterior lighting, doors, facade painting, signage, patio areas, awnings, and landscaping.
Renovations must be completed by December 31 of the year that the business owner applies for the improvement grant.