Aldermen are reviewing whether to alter the Facade Forgivable Loan Program based on recommendations from the City Council's Community Development Committee.
One proposal is to increase the city's share of the costs for facade improvements from 50% to 66%.
“That would mean if somebody had a $30,000 project, they could get $20,000 of that from us and $10,00 of their own money. If that's not incentive enough to put on their best face, I don't know what else we can do,” said Seventh Ward Alderman Clay Hinderliter.
Other recommendations include:
- Changing the name to the Downtown Facade Improvement Grant Program;
- Increasing the maximum city participation amount from $15,000 to $20,000 per project;
- If the $50,000 per year budgeted for the program is not used in a single fiscal year, the leftover money would be rolled into the next year's program until it reaches a maximum of $150,000.
Aldermen also stressed they want the money used for facade improvements; the cash could not be used for other work such as roof repairs.
In a memo, the city said five projects have been funded to date with two more applications nearly ready for processing. The city hopes the changes -- if approved -- will encourage greater participation.