Grants offered to help business owners spruce up their buildings
MORGAN CITY, La. — Business owners in the Main Street District of Morgan City whose building meets state criteria may apply for state-funded 2013-14 Redevelopment Incentive Grants, according to a news release from Beth Price of the Morgan City Main Street program.
In order to be eligible, the building must be located within the downtown Main Street district, must be used for commercial purposes, and must be at least 50 years old. In addition, the proposed work must be approved by the Historic District Commission in Morgan City and must meet the guidelines set by the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, the release stated.
The Main Street District includes Front Street to Railroad Avenue to Federal Avenue to Brashear Avenue, Price said.
The two levels of grants available—$10,000 and $2,500— are for redevelopment projects, the release stated.
Applicants must match the grant amount on a dollar for dollar basis.
A committee selects which businesses within in Main Street communities of the state get the grants, said Morgan City Main Street director Steve Morrell.
“The state Main Street program is a big believer in economic development through historic preservation,” Morrell said.
“Once these buildings disappear, they’re gone. They can’t be replaced,” Morrell said.
The Louisiana Main Street Program is an economic development program focused on historic preservation with the primary purpose being to revitalize historic downtown and commercial districts, said Louisiana Main Street Director Ray Scriber.
“The purpose of the redevelopment incentive grant program is to assist property owners and business owners in building improvement, both to the exterior and to the interior of their building,” Scriber said.
The Morgan City Main District has also participated in other state-funded Main Street grant programs, including the Main to Main grant program. If a Main Street community receives the grant, it must put on an event in November, Morrell said.
The Morgan City Main Street District received a Main to Main grant in 2012 to put on Jazzin’ It Up for 200 Years at Lawrence Park in Morgan City in November 2012, Morrell said.
The Louisiana Main Street program has been around since 1984, and the program works with 34 Main Street organizations in communities across the state, with 29 of the communities having a population of 50,000 or fewer, Scriber said.
The Louisiana Main Street Program will not know how much grant money it can give for the 2013-14 Redevelopment Incentive Grants until the state budget is finalized, Scriber said.
For 2012-13, the Louisiana Main Street Program awarded $57,500 in Redevelopment Incentive grants, five at the $10,000 level and three at the $2,500 level, Scriber said.
Work guidelines for the Redevelopment Incentive Grants include the following:
—Exterior improvements-restoration-rehabilitation must directly contribute physically and economically to the revitalization of the Main Street district while preserving and respecting the historic architectural character of the building, district, and heritage of the community.
—Restoration of historically significant signage or the replication of historic theater marquees will also be considered, the release stated.
—The program restricts interior improvements to exposing, restoring or replicating the original interior architectural features, or installing a fire suppression system. These restrictions are applicable to either commercial ground floor space or new (first time) upper story residential development in a historically commercial building.
Applications to relocate historic buildings to or within the Main Street district in order to help preserve area architectural and/or cultural heritage will receive consideration, the release stated.
The relocated structure must be for permanent public commercial or cultural educational use, and provide significant cultural and economic development stimulation within the Main Street District, the release stated.
Grant applications have been mailed out to all Main Street District businesses and are available at City Hall, located at 512 First St., between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The completed application must be returned to City Hall no later than May 31. No exceptions will be made. For more information, call Price at the Main Street Office at 385-1770 ext. 112 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.