Village awards first two improvement grants

By Jef Rietsma

Vicksburg Village Council members in October announced that nine local businesses collectively will be awarded more than $63,000 in grants aimed at property improvements within the village’s Downtown Development Authority boundaries.

The first two businesses were presented their grant awards Dec. 29.

“It is quite unique and special for a village our size to provide this opportunity for locally owned businesses to receive financial assistance like this from their local government,” Village President Tim Frisbie said. “We are proud to present our first two business recipients their grant awards totaling $23,175.”

Historically, the village has provided small grant opportunities restricted to façade improvements. This year’s Property Improvement Grant opportunity focused on investments into businesses and buildings that would add a public benefit in downtown Vicksburg.

The investments complemented the completely remodeled downtown streetscapes and makeover of downtown Oswalt Park.

Village Hideaway, owned by Scott Plankenhorn, invested more than $30,000 by installing a foldable window system that allows natural light throughout the business, as well as providing a trellis bar atmosphere found in larger cities.

Vicksburg provided $15,000 toward the investment.

Meanwhile, Jaspare’s Pizza and Fine Italian Food installed a roll-up garage door façade that provides a welcoming entry point. The view from inside the establishment has been immensely enhanced, village officials said.

“Coinciding with the downtown streetscapes which provided ample opportunity for visitors to sit outside or simply walk throughout our downtown, we have seen an increase in foot traffic within our business since we have made this investment,” said owner Todd Glenn. “Having owned businesses in multiple small communities, I can say without hesitation what Vicksburg does for its downtown businesses is unmatched. This grant is appreciated greatly.”

Jaspares invested almost $16,000 in its front façade, which is entirely new with a roll-up garage door.

Mallery said the village received $12,000 from the Vicksburg Foundation to match its $36,000 to establish the program.

The remaining seven businesses awarded grants will receive the 50 percent match once individual investments are completed. It is anticipated that all seven projects will be completed by June 20.

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