Port Main Street offers grants for businesses with an eye on appearances
Port Washingtonâ€™s downtown business district is becoming more eye-appealing, thanks in part to financial assistance available through Port Washington Main Street.
Sara Grover, executive director of the local downtown revitalization program, said a recent surge in grant awards may be a sign of good things to come for the community.
The program recently presented a grant to Barb Beattie and Scott Janeshek of Keller Williams Realty to upgrade the facade of their office on Franklin Street.
Main Street facade grants provide businesses up to $1,000 in matching money for exterior building upgrades.
Four other local businesses received sign grants from the program, which will reimburse owners for half of the cost of new signs.
The grant can be up to $250.
Sign grant recipients include American Advantage Insurance Group, 229 N. Franklin St.; Ozaukee Fitness, 101 E. Grand Ave.; Taste of Africa restaurant, 117 E. Main St.; and Wardrobe Safari, 228 N. Franklin St.
â€śI donâ€™t know if the recent grants mean we have gotten over the hump in the economy. In every case, I think the recipients are the kind of people who want to position themselves for when things finally do turn around,â€ť Grover said.
â€śIn each of these cases, the grants went to tenants â€” people who are not content to sit around and wait for their landlords to make improvements.â€ť
Grant applications are accepted anytime, and improvement plans are given careful consideration.
â€śThe Main Street Design Committee works closely with the cityâ€™s Design Review Board and identifies projects that represent significant improvements and meet the goal of historic preservation,â€ť Grover said.
â€śThere is considerable professional expertise on our Design Committee, and we are always willing to offer suggestions on how signs or facade plans can be enhanced.â€ť
For less-extreme facelifts, the program offers discount pricing on paint and supplies for improvements to downtown buildings. That financial assistance includes $5 reimbursement for every gallon of paint used for building improvements.
Grover said Main Street can also serve as a liaison with the city for downtown businesses seeking access to a 50% revolving loan program, offering between $20,000 and $100,000 with interest at half of the prime rate.
Revolving-fund loans must be approved by the cityâ€™s Community Development Authority and the Common Council.
For information about any of the Main Street programs, contact Randy Tetzlaff, director of planning and development for the City of Port Washington at 284-2600 or Grover at 268-1132.
PORT WASHINGTON MAIN STREET has awarded several grants recently to help underwrite business beautification projects in downtown. Inspecting some of the downtown improvements were (from left) Barb Beattie and Scott Janeshek, who received a facade grant for the Keller Williams Realty office on Franklin Street, Port Director of Planning and Development Randy Tetzlaff, Matt Nelson of American Advantage Insurance Group and Rosemary Stauss of Ozaukee Fitness, who both received sign grants, and Main Street Executive Director Sara Grover.Â Photo by Sam Arendt