By Amanda Baker, Downtown Development Coordinator
With the support of the full DDA Board, the Elk Rapids DDA Business Development Subcommittee elected to dedicate their full 2018 budget to launch a Downtown Façade Grant program. In its initial year, the committee was able to award $2000 worth of grants distributed between 3 businesses to create an impact in the traditional downtown.
The Business Development Mini Façade Grant program is set up as a 50/50 reimbursement grant to be paid upon completion of the projects. Recipients of this mini grant have 90 days from the award to complete their projects and submit paid invoices to the DDA for reimbursement.
Tamara Jones of Java Jones was awarded up to $500 to complete cleaning and painting of the façade of her building at 131 River Street. 204 River Street, home of Wild Hare Rug Studio, Solace Insurance Agency, Traverse Bay Farms and owner Andy LaPointe will use their $1000 award to purchase new bright yellow awnings to match the accents on the building. Becky Lancaster of Stoney Cabin Toys has already begun stone and trim repair at 115 River Street and will receive $500 toward the finished project.
Starting with these smaller projects allows the Elk Rapids DDA to launch their façade program with limited funding in an impactful way for the district. As years go by the DDA hopes to grow the program to cover larger historic preservation projects to restore buildings throughout the district.