The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Cash to spruce up downtown businesses available with a city grant

The program is now accepting applications as beautification efforts push on


A city-run program designed to encourage downtown businesses and building owners to upgrade and improve the esthetics of their properties is once again ready to dish out some cash.

Applications for the 2017 Downtown Beautification Matching Grant Program are being accepted until March 15, according to city officials.

Grants - where the city will match the amount of money the applicant proposes to spend on a project - come with many strings and the amount the city is willing to consider granting to applicants varies.

"Business owners can apply for a grant rebate to pay for up to 50 percent of the cost of improvements, with a maximum reimbursement of $10,000 per building," the city said. "Corner buildings, and projects that are deemed exceptional, can negotiate for larger grant amounts, not to exceed a maximum reimbursement of $20,000."

The city is also looking for small-scale investments.

"Business owners are also urged to seek grants on smaller projects in the $500 - $1,500 range," it added.

There are additional caveats.

"Grants will not be granted retroactively," the city says. "All projects must be approved before any work begins. If a business owner is not the owner of the building, they must get the property owner’s written approval to submit an application. Any changes to the project after grant approval must be approved before work commences or the grant will be forfeited. Eligible improvements must be to the exterior of a building."

The city began implementing the program in 2015 as part of its efforts to beautify Valdez.

"The Beautification Matching Grant Program enables private property owners or businesses within the core downtown business district to seek 50:50 matching grants for specific types of aesthetic upgrades to buildings or land," the city said on its website. "As there is limited funding for this program, interested parties must complete and submit an annual application. All submissions are then evaluated by the Mayor’s Beautification Task Force."

Applications for the grant are available on the city's website or can be picked up in person at city hall.

"Eligible properties must be used for commercial, non-profit, and/or mixed use purposes, and must be located in the core downtown area of Valdez," the city says. "The core downtown area, for purposes of the grant program, is bordered by Galena Street to the south, Pioneer Drive to the north, Meals Avenue to the east, and Hazelet Avenue to the west, and along the Richardson Highway from Meals Avenue to Crooked Creek. Properties must also be current on City property taxes to be eligible for the grant program."

The city also says that completed grant applications are due to the Assistant City Manager no later than March 15, 2017 and that late applications will not be considered.

There are a number of other important rules regarding who can apply for a grant and the areas where properties are eligible. Contact city hall or go to the city website for more information and to download the application.


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