By CATHY MOUNCE
Register Staff Writer
Gainesville’s downtown district is getting a facelift with many property owners renovating the historic structures evidenced by the amount of construction work in progress around the square.
During the past two years, the Gainesville Historic District has benefited from approximately $45,000 in funds from the city’s Facade Grant Program to make improvements and repairs on properties in the Main Street district.
Showing off recent improvements benefiting from the program are: Gene’s Photos with brick and tile repair on California St.; Otts Furniture on Commerce St.; Kinne’s Jewelers on California St.; Biffle properties which include Dr. David Eurich, D.D.S. and the former Pearson Pools on California St.
Currently underway are the Chapman's building and the Bullard property, both on Dixon St.
In addition, the professional offices of Jim Robertson’s law firm have been totally renovated and doubled in size with the expanded offices at 104 W. Main St.
Although not a part of the grant program, Robertson’s investment in his downtown facility is part of a growing trend to maximize space and efficiency while keeping the historical charm of the downtown area.
Main Street manager Lynette Pettigrew said that the program is a cooperative program funded through the Gainesville Economic Development Corporation (GEDC).
“The grant program is a matching grant meaning that the building owner contributes 50 percent to repairs and the GEDC contributes 50 percent,” said Pettigrew.
“The funds are used primarily for paint, windows, awnings and signage,” Pettigrew continued.
In order to apply for grant assistance, Main Street District building owners must apply to the Gainesville Main Street advisory board for fund assistance. The applications are reviewed and, if needed, a Texas Main Street architect is consulted to ensure plans and repairs are appropriate for the local downtown historic district.
“After review and approval, the property owner makes the improvements and pays all bills,” Pettigrew explained. “Upon presenting paid receipts for their completed project and receiving approval from Main Street, the grant funds are paid to the property owner from GEDC which completes the process.”
Gainesville Main Street is a department of the City of Gainesville.
For more information on the Main Street grant program, interested parties should contact Lynette Pettigrew at email@example.com.
By CATHY MOUNCE
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