2012-06-28 / Front Page
DDA to resume facade program downtown
SWARTZ CREEK — The Swartz Creek Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is setting aside $5,000 in funds from its 2012-2013 budget to be used in a facade improvement program.
The goal of the program is to increase the attractiveness and overall value of the DDA district.
“The purpose now is that the $5,000 will help several potential businesses in the district with the upgrades for appearances,” said Paul Bueche, the Swartz Creek city manager.
On June 25 the Swartz Creek City Council voted to approve an amendment to the DDA budget in order to transfer money from the DDA savings to active use for the facade improvement program. The DDA has the authority to approve the actual expenditure of the funds and will not need further city council approval for doing so.
The facade improvement program will be made available to businesses and building owners that are located in the designated DDA district of Swartz Creek. All applications for 2012 improvements must be submitted to the DDA between July1 and August 31.
Facade improvement renovation can be used on an exterior portion of the building that is visible to the public and can include the front, back and sides of the building. The facade improvement money cannot be used for roof repair.
Any business in the district may qualify for the available money. However, in order for a facade project to be considered, the improvement must make every effort to honor the historical characteristics of the building or the DDA district. The DDA board has the final say regarding who receives the actual funds, and distribution will be based on an applicant’s ability to meet the goals of the program.
The DDA may wind up awarding the money to a single applicant or divide it up amongst several businesses. Bueche estimates that funds will probably be given to one business to as many as three.
“In the past, the number of applicants was always somewhat small as the terms required the business putting up a fair share of the money in order to qualify, something like 70 or 80 percent towards the project,” Bueche said.
Further, Bueche said the amount of money that the DDA will require selected business owners to put up this time will vary.
“When we bid for projects, we generally look for the biggest bang for the dollar,” he said. “We may give all $5,000 for a complete facelift of a building where the owner say puts up five times that and the improvements vastly reflect to the public. In another case, maybe $500 for painting will vastly improve the looks.”
Once a project has been selected by the DDA, all work must be completed by June 30, 2013.
The DDA ran a facade improvement program from 2008 to 2010, but stopped due to cut backs.
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