Yadkinville to help businesses improve their property

August 3, 2013

Yadkinville businesses looking to improve their facilities might be eligible for a new grant.

The Town of Yadkinville and the Yadkinville Appearance Committee (YAC) are administering a Business Improvement Grant to for-profit businesses who want to improve the interior or exterior of their storefront.

The grant is open to commercial and industrial businesses within town limits.

Non-profits are not eligible for this grant. Businesses leasing their building may apply if they have at least two years left on the lease and receive a letter from the building’s owner endorsing the improvements.

The maximum grant awarded is $500 and the minimum is $100.

Paul Lowe, Director of Development and Planning for Yadkinville, said the grant allows for numerous project opportunities while providing grants to numerous businesses.

Lowe designed the grant during his department’s budget construction for the 2013-14 fiscal year. The grant operates out of the town’s general fund and has a limit of $2,000, meaning up to 20 projects can be funded through the grant.

“This is the first year we’ve done this program,” Lowe said. “It’s kind of like a pilot program but I think it will be a successful program.”

Each applicant is required to match the town’s grant during their project. For every dollar the town provides the business is expected to spend one dollar.

Applicants first contact Lowe and discuss their project ideas with him. He determines whether the improvements meet a list of requirements then approves it.

The project then goes to the YAC for review. They give it initial approval and the project gets underway.

The business owner or business leasing the space does the project then comes back to the YAC after its completion. The board reviews the project to make sure the funds were used for the agreed upon purpose, then the grant money is awarded as a reimbursement for the cost.

“Since we do have limited funds, if someone is awarded a grant they just receive one grant per year,” Lowe said.”We’re trying to be good stewards of the funding that I have.”

In that spirit Lowe has crafted loose restrictions on how the money can be used.

Businesses can use the grant money for handicap persons’ accessibility, lighting, fire alarms, energy conservation, painting, plumbing, water damage repairs, cleaning, repair and replacement of signing or awnings, and masonry work, among many others.

To be as flexible as possible Lowe included “tenant improvements” for new, expanding or relocated businesses. The overall terminology of the grant includes almost anything the business can do to improve the curbside appeal of its building.

There are some limitations to what can be done, though.

Building or land acquisition is not applicable, although Lowe admits $500 would not exactly buy a parcel of land or a new building. The money cannot be used toward legal fees, pest extermination, furnishings, equipment or personal property not affixed to the real estate, new construction, or parking lot resurfacing.

“It covers more things than it disqualifies for,” Lowe said of the grant terms. The hope is to improve the current business for an overall improvement in Yadkinville’s business appearance.

Applicants are required to submit drawings of their intended projects and two written, formal bids for all the proposed work with their application packet. Lowe encourages applicants to use licensed contractors for the project.

Lowe has included in the grant’s restrictions wording that prevents one business from receiving the whole $2,000, hoping instead to spread the wealth and affect as many parts of town as possible.

Lowe explained that in another town that used the grant for similar projects a business that had three different components received three grants.

The grant began July 1 with the new fiscal year and has a rolling deadline, meaning as long as funds are available businesses can apply. Lowe has had inquiries and one application already, with hopes that the grant will become an annual improvement event.

“I see it being a yearly thing,” Lowe said. “I used to work in Lenoir, and their program was really successful over there.”

“We’re trying to be a resource to the businesses in town,” Lowe said.

A list of guidelines can be found at www.yadkinville.org. Click on the economic development tab and open the incentives link. A PDF file with the official application guidelines is located in the top, right-hand corner of the page.

For more information contact Paul Lowe at the Yadkinville Town Hall. Lowe welcomes inquirers to meet with him in person, via the telephone at 336-679-8732, or by email at plowe@yadkinville.org.

To best reach Taylor Pardue email him at tpardue@civitasmedia.com. A phone message may be left at 336-835-1513 ext. 15 and he will return your call as soon as possible.