Saturday, May 18, 2024

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Graham, NC 27253
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Facade grants approved for five Mebane downtown buildings


Mebane’s city council approved five grants for businesses in downtown to improve the looks of their storefronts.

The city council established the program last year in order to encourage downtown property owners to “enhance their properties by updating their facilities,” as mayor Ed Hooks described it during the council meeting.

The city will pay half of the improvement costs, up to a maximum of $10,000.

Both city staff and council members emphasized that these are simply the first installment of city-subsidized grants for façade and other improvements; they encouraged other downtown merchants and business owners to submit additional applications, some of which could be funded in the current fiscal year that ends June 30.

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While the council has not yet begun the budget process, several members and city manager Chris Rollins made clear that the grant program would probably be continued, at some budget level, in the city’s next budget, as well.

Development director Cy Stober reminded council members and the public of the parameters of the grant qualifications: the city will fund only prospective projects, not those already under way or completed; the city will pay half of the costs of the approved projects; two bids must be obtained for the anticipated cost of the projects. If a renter requests the grant, rather than the property owner, the renter must show evidence that the request is endorsed by the property owner.

Most of the projects considered this week fell into the category of facade improvements; other eligible categories are: outdoor seating; exterior artwork; and preservation of historic architecture and buildings.

• The largest project approved by the council Monday night was for 203 West Clay Street, for $10,000, where the owner intends to re-point the exterior brick, then paint the building white and replace fabric awnings.

203 West Clay Street would have bricks re-pointed, awnings replaced, and have entire building painted white, similar to the style shown below (provided by the grant applicant).

The other four projects approved for funding Monday night were:

• $2,840 for the construction of an 8-foot fence at 112 West Center Street, to replace a 10-foot fence that doesn’t comply with city standards;

• $5,943.08 to restore and refurbish the front of 115 West Clay Street, including restoring leaded glass transom windows, repaint the entry, and installing custom window boxes on the second floor;

• $301.57 for 115 North Fourth Street to install a new awning; and

• $1,223.66 for 130 West Clay Street to replace storefront tinted glass windows.
The projects, totaling $20,308.31, were approved unanimously.

Mebane officials emphasized that there is $50,000 in the fund for this year, and the council will consider additional eligible applications between now and the end of the fiscal year, June 30.

Other Mebane news in this week’s edition:

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