By JOSH VARDAMAN
Courier staff writer
---- — OTTUMWA — A nice-looking storefront and new roof can go a long way to attracting business, and owners of buildings downtown will soon get the chance to receive help making their stores shine like new.
Thanks to a grant from the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation totaling $75,000, the city’s Planning and Development Department was able to add roofing as an option to their Downtown Area Revitalization Grant Program.
The program makes for a good incentive for business owners to do necessary work to their stores without taking a huge hit to their wallets, and according to City Planning and Development Director Nick Klimek, the downtown area will surely gain from the program.
“The overall purpose of these incentive programs is to encourage reinvestment and revitalization of our downtown area,” he said.
The grant, which was accepted by the City Council at their Tuesday meeting, adds to the two components already in place in the grant program. Now the city is able to offer assistance with three different programs under the Downtown Area Revitalization Grant Programs.
Businesses can apply for help through a façade grant program, in which the city will match up to 25 percent of the funds for exterior improvements, up to $5,000 per façade or $10,000 per owner; an interest buydown program, which reduces the amount of interest owed on a commercial loan with a maximum of $50,000 over a five-year period; and the roof replacement program, in which the city will provide up to 50 percent for the replacement of a current roof system with a maximum of $7,500.
The eligibility district for the revitalization program includes businesses that sit south of Fourth Street, between Packard Avenue and Jefferson Street, on the north side of the Des Moines River, and businesses on either side of Church Street from Richmond Avenue to the Church Street Bridge on the south side of town.
Businesses that are interested in sprucing up their storefronts or want more information about the program are encouraged to make an appointment with the Ottumwa Planning and Development Department by calling 641-683-0600.
According to Klimek, planning and development will start marketing the program “in the very near future” so businesses can work it into their 2014 project planning.
— To see reporter Josh Vardaman's Twitter feed, go to @CourierJosh