Front Royal facade improvement plan moving along

Front Royal held a final meeting regarding its facade improvement plan Thursday evening. Felicia Hart, the town’s community development director, said the meeting was well-attended and productive.

“It went very well,” she said. “We had about 20 some in attendance total. Property owners, folks who already signed up. … I think we got some good feedback from the audience. We had the two property owners in attendance which we had done the renderings for and they were positive about what we had done. I think we’re in a good place right now.”

Hart explained how the process, which centers around matching grants for property owners, will work. She said that the process is moving right along.

“We have some tight deadlines that we have to meet in order to put this together,” she said. “We have to wrap everything up and provide our next grant request in March. We are in the final stages for the facade grant. We’d like to get some more MOUs (memorandum of understanding) signed up. They’ve heard what this grant is supposed to do and what the requirements are on their behalf. The property owner will have to invest $15,000 and we will match it for $15,000.”

The aim of the grant process is to improve buildings throughout the town and by extension, revitalize the downtown area’s aesthetic. During a video conference, Kathleen Frazier, architect for Frazier Associates, discussed plans for two buildings in particular – 9 and 11 S. Royal Ave., owned by Craig Bodoh, and 403 E. Main St., owned Christopher and Susan Lawrence.

Citizen involvement is paramount, said Hart.

“It’s very important to the grant that we’re going after, the community development block grants, they want to see the public participation,” she said. “They want to see that the public has bought in. It’s not just the public but the elected officials – are they attending meetings, are they giving regular updates? It’s very important because it’s the community that lights the fire.”

Contact staff writer Nathan Budryk at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or nbudryk@nvdaily.com