Grants available  for downtown improvements

By David Hotle, The JOURNAL


After receiving a $75,000 grant from the Washington County Riverboat Foundation, Main Street Washington has announced Round 8 of the Washingto Incentive Fund (WIF) grant program for building improvements.

According to a press release, The program has helped capture over $10 million of private investments in Washington since its inception in 2008. People who are interested in applying for a grant should join the Main Street design committee at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 5, in the Washington Public Library?s Washington State bank room for an informational meeting. Topics to be covered will include program information, how grants are scored, and tips for successful grant writing. WIF grants assist building owners in the downtown area to make improvements to the facades of their businesses

?We have two major changes to the the rules for WIF round 8,? Main Street Washington director Sarah Grunewaldt said. ?The first change states that should a grant recipient receive funds from us, they are inelligible for funds in the next grant round, i.e., received funds from Round 7 ,they will not be eligible for funds during this round. This is a change to previous rounds designed to encourage a wider variety of projects within downtown. Our second change is that we have to set aside $15,000 of our $75,000 grant from the Washington County Riverboat Foundation for maintennace like roofs and awnings, which in past rounds have not scored well, but are critical to the function and aesthetics of the building envelope.?

She said that about $320,000 had been distributed from WIF over the last 10 years. WIF is a pool of money that requires a 50/50 match. The program has been successful to encourage property owners to proceed with projects they had been considering. The projects are designed to help the owners do something to buildings that will preserve it, maintain it and keep the feel of the downtown area.

Main Street Washington began giving WIF grants in 2009. Grunewaldt said that depending on the money available, the group has done at least one grant round per year. Grants can range from $1,000 to $10,000. In the past when there has been more funding, the grant amounts have been bigger. Larger grants have been given to such projects as the State Theatre and café dodici.

Letters of intent to participate in this round of WIF grants are due to the Main Street office by 4 p.m. Tuesday, June 5.

For more information, contact Main Street Washington on the organization?s website or contact Grunewaldt at (319) 653-3918.