Investments the city is making in downtown Greenwood are catching the attention of homeowners and investors, said one local real estate agent who has taken advantage of city programs to make improvements to his own downtown property.
“We are seeing a tremendous increase in interest of people wanting to live in these old downtown Greenwood homes,” said Bruce Richardson, co-owner of Dietel Richardson Realty. “We are seeing a lot of investors coming in and buying these homes and investing significant dollars to bring them up to date.”
A Greenwood program to encourage downtown property owners to make exterior renovations to their buildings has now given out more than $250,000 in grants for eight projects.
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The redevelopment commission set aside $500,000 for the GROW program last summer, with the intention of encouraging downtown property owners to make exterior renovations. So far, the program is receiving significant interest. Eight applications have been approved and inquiries have been made for more locations on Main Street and Madison Avenue, officials said.
Redevelopment commission member Mike Tapp said the interest in the GROW program, which has already used half its funds, reflects the commitments property owners have made to making the downtown area nicer.
The redevelopment commission has approved matching grants for two properties on Main Street: $28,000 for 194 to 202 W. Main St. and $29,500 for 399 W. Main St.
Both property owners said the availability of the grants sped up their timetable for when they were going to make much-needed renovations.
When Richardson decided to purchase three adjacent downtown Main Street properties from 194 to 202 W. Main St. at the beginning of 2016, it was a city program to repair building facades that initially drew him to the area.
“We are very encouraged by the cooperation with all owners of the buildings,” Richardson said. “We’re anxious to see more of those GROW funds being used to help.”
With the façade improvements now complete, he decided to take advantage of another city grant that would allow him to make improvements not covered under the façade program.
While the façade program was focused on restoring the exteriors of downtown buildings on the street-facing sides, Richardson will be able to use a grant from the GROW program to make improvements such as new lighting, signs and repairs to the sides and back of the building.
His realty company uses one of the suites, while the other two are leased. He expects the work to take three to five months and be finished during the summer, he said.
Dr. Rick Ruegg, a psychologist who runs a private counseling practice out of a former home at 399 W. Main St., received a redevelopment commission grant for work including replacing windows, siding, the front steps and the garage door, along with repairs to the brick and mortar.
“We have been really excited about what has been taking place with the number of young people moving into the area and fixing up homes as well as how the businesses have taken hold and new businesses are coming in,” he said.
Redevelopment commission president Brent Tilson described Ruegg’s project as a good example of the success of the GROW program.
Eight applications for GROW program grants have been approved by the Greenwood Redevelopment Commission:
- 223 to 241 Main St.: (two properties): $83,000
- 622 Madison Ave.: $25,000
- 401 Camby Court: $38,000
- 599 E. Main St.: $21,000
- 410 E. Main St.: $14,000
- 280 W. Main St.: $19,000
- 194 to 202 W. Main St.: $28,000
- 399 W. Main St.: $29,500