Grafton EDC alters requirements for store front improvement
Gives OK to fund storm sewer modeling
GRAFTON – After nearly voting on whether to end its storefront improvement program, the Grafton Economic Development Committee (EDC) voted to change the criteria for the grant/forgivable loan available to downtown businesses.
Since 2008, 41 applications have been approved and $284,400.64 has been disbursed to help Grafton businesses improve their storefronts.
After approval, storefront improvement project (SIP) candidates are eligible receive up to 50 percent of the cost of their project not to exceed $10,000.
According to language adopted by the EDC, the intent of Grafton’s SIP is to, “enhance, protect and promote Grafton’s historic character and unique identity; renovate the exterior facades of deteriorating commercial buildings; improve the appearance of individual building storefronts including signs and awnings or canopies as well as the overall look of the area; and leverage privte improvements while making revitalization affordable, creative and community based.”
At their Aug. 14 meeting the EDC passed a motion to approve a storefront improvement grant to Bremer Bank in the amount of $27,600.
The motion to amend policy concerning the SIP passed 3-2 with one committee member recusing himself. Committee member Don Hutson was one of the two who voted against giving Bremer the grant. Hutson expressed concern that 90 percent of the businesses who have taken advantage of the storefront improvement program, which is funded through the sales tax fund, do not charge sales tax themselves.
After much discussion, committee member Chris Lipsh made a motion to stipulate that only applicants that charge sales tax should be eligible for the program and that the minimum amount of the project should be no less than $10,000. Hutson seconded the motion and it passed by a 5-1 voice vote with Bjorneby the lone dissenting vote.