ROSEBORO — Commissioners have questioned the wording of the town’s facade grant for several months now, wondering if the town was accurately interpreting the guidelines to be met by businesses. Clarification on those guidelines was established earlier this week at the town’s regular board meeting.
“I feel we may have made some mistakes in the past,” mayor Alice Butler said. “I think our interpretation of the facade grant may be different than the intentions.”
The town has been giving businesses 100 percent match of funds, up to $2,000. The guidelines read that the grant will provide a dollar for dollar match, up to $2,000 for each project. Now, with the clarification, the grant will match the total project amount at 50 percent, up to $2,000.
“If a business spends $4,000, we will match half of that with $2,000,” commissioner Anthony Bennett said.
Guidelines to apply for the grant originally didn’t allow for the alteration of signs, but now, with changes from the board, sign alteration can be a part of the grant requests, just not the sole basis of the updating request.
The program, which was established in 2009, was initially governed by the Main Street Committee. At the collapse of that committee, the grant has been overseen by the town. Within the town’s budget, $6,000 has been set aside yearly. The grant will provide a dollar for dollar match, up to $2,000 for each project and a total of three grants are awarded each year.
“We have got to make sure that we are in the guidelines,” commissioner Ray Clark Fisher said.
The board previously made changes to the grant guidelines that allowed all businesses within the town limits of Roseboro to be eligible for the grant. The grant funds were restricted and only available to businesses in the downtown area.
Sonny Sullivan of Fisher’s Insurance, previously informed commissioners that the facade grant program is one that provides property owners or business tenants an opportunity to renovate their building facades while implementing appropriate design standards and preserving the unique architectural and commercial character of Roseboro, and asked commissioners to include not just downtown businesses, but all businesses in the town’s limits.
According to the program’s guidelines, a facade is defined as one side of a building regardless of the number of stories. Each store front of a building can be considered a facade and the rear of a building may also be considered for the facade grant, with priority given to the front of the building. The program is intended to encourage and provide incentives for the renovation of buildings in the downtown area. Within the renovation, the program clearly states the design must be appropriate for historical standards and preservation of the unique architectural character must be kept.
The facade grant was initially created by using funds from interest off of the Revolving Loan program. For the last couple of years, it has mainly been funded by the town’s general fund and was created to initiate interest in cleaning up and fixing up buildings downtown. The program’s goal is to award three grants each year.
Updates to the facade grant guidelines have been done, Butler said, in an effort to gain more businesses utilizing the grant.
“People can use this to make the downtown area look better,” Butler shared.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.