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Group offers matching grants for downtown building upgrades

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By Rachel Christian

Storefronts and businesses around the Mount Vernon riverfront can soon apply for matching funds to go toward public improvements on their property.

A little over $20,000 is available to building owners within the riverfront TIF district, which covers about two to three blocks from Water to Grant St.

That TIF district – which stands for Tax Increment Finance – was created several years ago in order to capture anticipated property taxes generated from the construction of the Landing and other renovation projects.

Now that the Redevelopment Commission has captured $20,000 from the TIF, Chairman Ed Adams said the group wants to make that money available to local businesses for exterior improvement work.

“The idea is to reinvest this money so that local businesses can make small upgrades to their properties,” Adams explained during the City Council meeting July 6.

Businesses within the TIF will need to complete an application with details about the improvement they wish to make. If awarded, the money will serve as a matching grant, so businesses will need to chip in the same amount as they receive. The maximum a company can be awarded is $5,000.

Adams acknowledged that the funds may not stretch far depending on the number of applicants, but added that the Redevelopment Commission plans to continue the program by replenishing it with new annual TIF revenue.

Business owners may pick up a copy of the grant application at City Hall from July 15 to August 31. The application includes the rules and requirements for the upgrade projects.