By Sue Moore
How much does the look of a store front have to do with the success of the business inside? This is the eternal question downtown business owners face when figuring out how to allocate dollars to run their business.
As an incentive, the Vicksburg Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has been able to obtain grant money to store owners for façade improvements, according to Kathleen Hoyle, the authority’s executive director. $10,000 was given by the LISC Corporation as an outright grant to use for this purpose in Vicksburg. After receiving many inquiries about the program, it was decided that this would not be enough money to get the job done for the number of people interested. Another $10,000 has been added to the fund to encourage businesses to add awnings, fresh paint, and even window replacement in their building for up to $2,500. The project grant is only good within the DDA district.
The deadline to apply for the façade grant is April 15. A DDA committee of three has been appointed to review the applications and make recommendations to the board by April 20. The winners of a grant would have 30 days to get quotes for the work they want done. The LISC money needs to be allocated by June 30. The exterior work would need to be completed within one year of the grant, Hoyle said.
Although these are grants in small amounts, another fund totaling $80,000 has been set aside for low interest loans for building owners who wish to do more in depth remodeling. $50,000 of this fund was also pledged by LISC, a national association dedicated to revitalization of neighborhood communities throughout the nation. This is a revolving fund where the loan has a duration of four years but must be paid back with interest, Hoyle said.