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City to disperse facade grants

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BY LINDELL JOHN KAY
Staff Writer

Saturday, March 23, 2019

An accelerating downtown Rocky Mount revitalization effort is underway to award 10 facade grants by the end of the fiscal year, which is June 30.

The grant program is meant to help improve storefronts for all properties downtown by promoting and paying for exterior repair and improvements to downtown buildings, according to city officials.

Facade improvements can attract new businesses and residential tenants in the city’s Central Business District, thereby creating jobs, new revenue and other economic opportunities, said Tameka Kenan-Norman, the city's chief communications officer.

The maximum grant award per project is $5,000.

Here's a partial list of the types of work that may be funded:

■ Brick or wall surface cleaning depending on the method and chemicals used.

■ Patching and painting of facade walls.

■ Signage or lighting replacement or repair.

■ Canopy, porch or awning installation or repair.

■ Window and/or door replacement or repair.

■ Mortar joint repair.

■ Railings and ironwork repair or addition.

■ Cornice repair and or replacement.

■ Replacement or repair of exterior steps.

Plans for improvements must conform with the city's existing building regulations and where applicable the Rocky Mount Historic Preservation Commission Design Guidelines. All projects located in the historic district must receive a Certificate of Appropriateness or approval of Development Services staff prior to receiving grant funds.

Any work done prior to the approval of a grant application is not eligible for funding.

Grant applications are available in the Department of Community and Business Development, located on the second floor of City Hall at 331 S. Franklin St. and the city's website. Applicants are responsible for obtaining the required permits, approvals and inspections for their projects.

For additional information contact Downtown Development Manager Kevin Harris at 252-972-1100.

Harris began regular full-time employment with the city of Rocky Mount as business development manager on May 21, 2018. Due to the focus on downtown revitalization efforts, Harris also assumed the duties of an increased variety and scope, specifically downtown development activities.

These extra duties have resulted in a 10 percent salary increase. These duties, however, are temporary until the downtown development manager position is permanently filled, Kenan-Norman said.

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