New grant aims to make businesses visually appealing

By Katie Demeria

Woodstock businesses are being given the opportunity to put their best front forward.

The Woodstock Enhancement Committee this week announced the beginning of its Facade and Sign Rehabilitation Grant Program.

Coordinator Jane Beasley said this is the program’s inaugural year.

“Our committee has looked into doing this for a long time,” she said. “It’s part of our strategic plan to continue helping our existing businesses. We’re always looking for ways to do that.”

The committee is seeking projects that enhance a business’s exterior. According to Beasley, that could range from a new sign to replacing a door and adding window boxes.

“It’s everyone’s first impression,” she said. “You have to make it appealing, and we think we can help businesses. It’s been a tough couple of years for a lot of them. This is a way we can support them.”

The award is for a reimbursable, 50 percent matching grant with a maximum amount of $5,000, Beasley said. They are available for exterior improvements on the front or side of a building, so long as they face a public street and are not made simply for general maintenance.

Projects involving restoring historic buildings are also included in the grant’s guidelines, but Beasley said the business does not have to be in the historic district.

“This could be any business in the town of Woodstock,” she said. “People will be drawn to other businesses.”

One of the program’s intentions as described in its guidelines is to “build civic pride among the community,” as well as “promote the marketability of our business area.”

Right now this is the only grant offered by the committee. Projects will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis until all funds have been committed. All proposed projects must be completed by June 24, 2015.

Each application will go through the committee’s review process before a decision is made.

Beasley pointed out that improving the appearance of individual businesses will help the town at large thrive.

“Part of our mission statement is supporting our existing businesses while building a sense of community pride and involvement,” she said. “So this is part of our mission, as always.”

Buildings that are visually appealing, she added, are more likely to keep visitors in the area.

“Our businesses are a big part of our community,” she said. “We’re bringing people into town and we want to keep having things for them to do once they’re here.”

To apply for the grant, go to http://tiny.cc/8ud1lx.

Contact staff writer Katie Demeria at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kdemeria@nvdaily.com