DDA makes changes to facade grants

Published 12:46 pm Friday, March 20, 2009

Three changes were made—adding more regulations and oversight—to the application for Facade Incentive Grants at a called meeting Thursday of the Downtown Development Authority.

The grants provides up to $1,000 per renovation project in order to improve the appearance of the downtown area.

The authority unanimously passed an amendment to the application for the grant, requiring that renovation plans—specifically paint color, awning color and awning material—be sent for approval to the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation (GTHP). The organization provides on-site consultations, design, drawings and technical assistance in preserving and restoring Georgia cities.

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Community Development Director Amanda Glover said the trust has been used for recommendation on renovations to Bainbridge buildings in the past.

Following questions regarding the logistics of providing the information to the GTHP, it was explained that applications would be provided to Glover and she, in turn, would serve as a liaison between the applicant and the organization, most likely using e-mail. Glover said she would also provide the GHTP with photographs of adjacent buildings for consideration when deciding if the renovations/paint colors were appropriate. Glover said it takes an average of two weeks to obtain the recommendation/approval on the building.

The authority further expanded the guidelines surrounding the facade grant by passing a motion for the DDA to reserve the right to require other facade improvements before grants are approved.

The motion came about after it as realized that no guidelines existed to require other necessary work to be done before facade grants were approved.

In addition, as a recommendation from Chairman Al Collins, the facade grant will only match up to 50 percent of the total cost of the project. Collins noted that a number of the $1,000 grants were providing a majority of the funding for the renovations, if not the entire amount.

Two facade grants, received prior to passing the new amendments, were approved by the authority.

The first was for $635 from Don Whaley for 414 Calhoun St. The bid, for repairing the framework for awning at the location, was from Capital Awning Company out of Tallahassee, Fla., for $625.

The second application was for $1,000 from Denise Webb for 106 N. Broad St.—L.T.L Flowers and Gifts. The bid, for fabricating and installing a new canvas awning cover on the existing retractable awning and possible framework removal/installation, was from Capital Awning Company out of Tallahassee, Fla., for $1,653.