Facade Improvement Grant Recipients Announced

Facade Improvement Grant Recipients Announced
Posted on 08/21/2020
Facade Improvement Grant Recipients AnnouncedThe City of Columbia was awarded a Community Development Façade Improvement Grant in April from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development for $100,000. This grant is available to Tennessee Main Street Communities and Tennessee Downtowns. Approximately five grants of up to $100,000 were awarded to organizations that illustrated the need for a façade program and the ability to execute an effective design plan for the façade improvements. The monies from this grant will be distributed to local downtown businesses through a City of Columbia Façade Grant process, utilizing South Central Tennessee Development District to administer the grants to qualifying sub-recipients. 

The Façade Grant awards range from $1,500 to $10,000 for each sub-recipient business and is designed to encourage property and business owners in the downtown commercial district to enhance the exterior appearance of their buildings, brand and identify their businesses, drive economic success, and restore the original character of historic buildings. 

“In a historic downtown district such as ours, we must never cease in our efforts to ensure the buildings remain intact for the next generation to enjoy. This façade grant will assist greatly in those efforts,” said Mayor Chaz Molder.

The Façade Grant Program began in April with a live webinar hosted by the city. Applications from businesses were accepted through June 19th and were followed by a preliminary review process to ensure that businesses met the established criteria. The Selection Committee met on June 25th to evaluate all applications and approved 100% of applicants. Twelve applicants presented to the Historic Zoning Commission on August 13th, with the commission approving all applications. Recipients were notified regarding the Façade Improvement Grant awards this week.

“We are excited to announce 17 projects in this first round of applications and expect the projects to have a positive impact on Columbia’s Downtown Historic Commercial District,” said Thad Jablonski, Assistant City Manager and CFO. 

The award recipients are Muletown Roasted Coffee, GM Properties, Flag World, a'Museum Children’s Museum, Ganser Building, Ted's Sporting Goods, McEwen Real Estate Group, Cowork Columbia, Robeson building, Sands & Richardson, Red 7 Pizza Co., Puckett's Metal Building, Puckett's, Southern Tre Steakhouse, former Salon South building, former Emporium building and the downtown Boys & Girls Club. 

Molder said, “Once again, our community benefits from a partnership with our state and regional partners. I am happy for each business who will receive financial assistance to help improve their façade, which will result in an enhanced downtown district. And, I am grateful to our partners at the state and the South-Central Tennessee Development District who continue to work with us as we seek to move the City of Columbia forward in a positive direction. Kudos to our Historic Zoning Commission for their efforts in the application process.” 

Jablonski said, “As anticipated, we are seeing an increased return on investment using state grant dollars here in Columbia. The Façade Grant Project allocates $80,408 in grant funds for the first round of improvements. The investment in downtown façade improvements totals more than $210,000, which is more than twice the amount of grant funds for the first round of projects. Most of all, we are pleased to be in a position to aid downtown businesses and property owners at this time.”