NDDA gets grant for faade work

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 14, 2004

NATCHEZ &045; The Natchez Downtown Development Association will soon make available mini-grants to help downtown business owners spruce up the faSades of their buildings.

In mid-December, Entergy gave a $3,000 Team City grant to the association. With that money, NDDA will give $800 to $1,000 mini-grants to qualified owners who will match those grants with the same amount of their own funds.

&uot;The faSade renovation program will help Natchez in its efforts to enhance the business environment and expand the business base,&uot; Steve Kelly, Entergy community development manager, said a written statement. &uot;We believe this is important because it affects the overall quality of life for Adams County.&uot;

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&uot;Hopefully, this will act as an incentive for those business owners who are still on the fence&uot; in their decisions to spruce up the front portions of their buildings, said NDDA Board President Michael Cates.

The program &uot;ties in with all the conversations lately about the cosmetics of downtown,&uot; Cates said. &uot;In the long run, it will improve the appearance of downtown. And (the program) will also improve our partnerships with local businesses and with Entergy.&uot;

As of Wednesday, NDDA officials were still writing up grant qualifications and had not yet set a date when mini-grants will be available. Cates said the grants will only be available for exterior, not interior renovations.

Such mini-grants could cover activities ranging from basic faSade maintenance and repairs to painting and carpentry to landscaping or replacing awnings.

&uot;If someone had a building that had plywood over the windows on the second floor, they could use (the money) to take out the plywood and put window frames and glass in,&uot; Cates said. &uot;But the money couldn’t be used to renovate the inside of the room.&uot;

The association plans to reapply for the Team Cities grant each year to fund a continuing faSade grant program.

&uot;We’re hoping to use this as seed money&uot; to start an ongoing program, he said.

NDDA Executive Director Tammi Mullins could not be reached for comment Wednesday.