Board awards, cancels grants: GROW program regains nearly half of funding

A Greenwood city board has more money to give out to downtown businesses after canceling a grant for improvements to two properties.

The issues the city has had with the project also prompted changes to the grant program, aimed at helping downtown businesses do work to the outside of their buildings.

Last year, the Greenwood Redevelopment Commission approved giving developer Ken Johnson up to $100,000 to make improvements to two properties from 223 to 241 Main St. Planned improvements included demolishing the existing storefront and reinstalling 10-foot glass panels, reinstalling the original windows on the front of the second floor of the building and repairing and replacing bricks.

The grant was awarded nearly a year ago, but the owner of the property hadn’t finalized a contract with the city for the project, meaning it could not go forward, redevelopment commission president Brent Tilson said.

Since then, the city board has begun requiring that property owners that get grants must finalize a contract within 90 days of approval, he said.

With that grant canceled and another one awarded last week, about $200,000 of the initial $500,000 in funding remains in the city’s GROW program, which provides matching grants to downtown businesses looking to make exterior renovations to their properties.

In addition to more than a dozen grants awarded so far, the redevelopment commission approved a $16,500 grant for work to a one-story office building at 100 S. Madison Ave., home to Doyle Investment management.

Improvements to the building constructed in 1967 include new windows, a new door, a stone landscape edge and new landscaping plants.

The parking lot will also be resurfaced. With money in the program running low, the city board soon will be faced with a decision on whether to continue the grants once the initial $500,000 in funding has been given out.

If the board wants to continue the program, options include investing a smaller amount of money and lowering the maximum amount awarded to each applicant, Tilson said.

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Jacob Tellers is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at jtellers@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2702.