Morgan City Main Street offers facade grants

MORGAN CITY — The city’s Main Street Program is giving downtown businesses the chance to receive a grant to help businesses renovate the outside of their buildings to preserve the historic nature of the area.

The Main Street Program will be accepting applications from businesses within the Main Street District through April 19 for the chance to receive $4,000 in facade grant money.

The $4,000 will be divided among whichever businesses the Main Street District’s board of directors chooses to award the grants to, said Beth Price of the Morgan City Main Street Program. The money for the grants is raised through the Friends of Main Street fundraiser, for which people and businesses send in donations, Price said. Donations from the fundraiser have also gone to purchase items such as benches for the downtown area.

The businesses that receive the grant money must match however much grant money they receive to renovate the outside of the building, she said.

The city first became a Main Street community, as recognized by the state, in 1997. For the first five years after a city becomes a Main Street community, the community receives $8,000 from the state to go toward the façade grants, Price said.

After those five years, the state stops sending the grant money to the community, she said.

“Our board of directors chose to keep doing it, but on a smaller scale, $4,000 a year with our Friends of Main Street fundraiser fund,” Price said.

Applications were mailed out to businesses within the Main Street District, but if for any reason a business did not receive or needs one, applications are available at City Hall, Price said. The grants are only available to businesses within the Main Street District.

Applicants must provide the scope of work including pictures and estimates for contractors. They must also follow a timeline. The applications are brought before the board of directors at a meeting, and they vote on which ones to award the grants to, Price said.

The planning and zoning commission must also approve the proposed building improvements, Price said.

Businesses must also include a list of what improvements they want to do, for example, cleaning and repairing bricks, windows, doors, etc., she added.

In 2012, Nico Bella on Front Street, and Cajun Breakers on Railroad Avenue were awarded the grants.

Nico Bella refaced the front of its building while Cajun Breakers painted its building and added a new awning, Price said.

The recipients of this year’s grants should be announced by May 13, she said.

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