Downtown development office to offer improvement grants

A downtown Columbus development group will be offering grants to help spruce up the faces of downtown commercial buildings.

The non-profit Office of Downtown Development has been approved for a $250,000 grant from Columbus redevelopment funds to offer a program to help stimulate investment, promote historic, cultural, and architectural appreciation, and make improvements to the appearance of buildings in the downtown area.

Commercial buildings in the area between Water and 11th streets and from Chestnut to Lindsey streets will be eligible to apply for the grants. To apply, the property and its owners must be current on their property taxes, not be under any city liens or owe fines to the city, nor can they have any outstanding code violations.

Ike Declue, head of the Office of Downtown Development, said the grants will require a 50/50 match from the business owners. He said that older buildings are expensive to maintain and the grants will help stimulate improvements as well as encourage businesses to locate downtown.

The grants will be limited to about $15,000. Applications will be reviewed by a five-member
Downtown Improvements Grant Program Committee. Several businesses are already lining up to apply for the grants in the new year, said Laura Miller the president of the non profit group’s board.

The Columbus Redevelopment Commission approved the grant Monday.