ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) — Business owners in Elizabethton looking to give their storefronts a facelift can soon take advantage of a grant program to help with repairs.

The city of Elizabethton is opening up applications for its 2022-2023 Façade Rehabilitation Grant Program. This is for businesses within the Main Street District of Downtown.

City leaders said the hope is by improving businesses, more people will want to come downtown and spend more money which will improve local sales tax collection, and eventually encourage more businesses to open downtown.

“There’s a variety of different types of projects, from repainting buildings to replacing windows, to brick reappointing, there’s just a lot of things that you can do with this grant this year,” said Logan Engle, Director of Planning & Economic Development. “We’re actually adding a couple of additional items, exterior signage, and roofs because we recognize that if a building doesn’t have a good roof, it’s going to leak and it’s going to cause structural issues.”

Per a release from the city eligible repairs include: “masonry repairs and the repointing of bricks; the repair/replacement/preservation of historically significant architectural details; the removal or reconstruction of false fronts; exterior painting and stucco; awnings and canopies; windows, door, or cornice repair/replacement; the repair/replacement of gutters and downspouts; decking and stairs; required sidewalk barriers for outdoor dining areas (must remain with the building); some design/architectural fees (not to exceed $500); visible electrical/mechanical equipment enclosures, building-mounted signs; and roofing.”

The façade program is a reimbursement program meaning business or property owners will pay up front and then the city will reimburse up to 50% of total costs up to $4,000. This is up from the $2,000 that was previously offered through the program.

Approval of applications will be considered based on a program rubric. The city hopes to help four to six property or business owners in the process. All proposed work contained within the scope of the application must be able to be completed no later than June 1, 2023.

“We’re just really excited to offer the program again,” said Engle. “It’s a great opportunity for our government to assist property owners. Downtowns are the lifeblood of a community or at least we think so. So it’s a great opportunity for us to really engage with that population and provide them with some incentive to enhance and improve their buildings.”

Applications will be available starting Monday, October 3 at a public information meeting at 5:30 p.m. at Elizabethton City Hall. Applications will be accepted for review until Friday, November 18.

For more information or to get an application, contact Logan Engle, Director of Planning & Economic Development, at (423) 542-1503 or lengle@cityofelizabethton.org.