The goal of the program is to promote improvements to commercial properties in the Main Street Portsmouth district.
Eight properties received funding for improvements, including The Bridge Carryout, Re-Max Center City, Journey Within, and Yost Engineering.
In addition to support from the Richard D. Marting Foundation, MSP received money from the City of Portsmouth.
“This year, we received $50,000 from the City of Portsmouth through their Community Improvement Project budget,” MSP Director Zoe Richards told area business representative at a meeting Thursday morning.
Richards said the money awarded MSP by the City of Portsmouth was earmarked for historic preservation and that it was from the CIP (Capital Improvements) budget, and not from the General Fund.
“We set aside $25,000 from this fund to support the historic preservation of your properties,” Richards said. “We had over $175,000 worth of projects submitted through the grant program this year, which is amazing. And everything ranged from shutters and doors and windows to painting and tuck pointing and new roofs, so it was a wonderful opportunity. It was a great committee we had.”
Selection Committee members include: Wayne Allen, vice president of Main Street Portsmouth; Ernie Bouyack, historic preservation activist; Kevin Johnson, First Ward city councilman; Larry Justice, chief engineer for the City of Portsmouth; Scott Moore of Tanner Stone Holsinger Dongess & Company Architects; and Rebecca Steele, community development director for the City of Portsmouth.
“We sat down and we really went through these grants and thought how we could support these property owners and preserve the historic integrity of the buildings,” Richards said. “Without new roofs, without paint, without tuck pointing, it’s hard for a property owner to maintain the property, and keep it up to par.”
Under the Building Improvement Grant Program, property owners or business owners within the MSP district are eligible to apply for grants for work to improve eligible building elements of commercial buildings that are visible from a public right-of-way.
“We received a 50/50 grant up to $5,000,” said Chris Lute of the Southern Ohio Museum and Cultural Center. “I believe our estimate for tuck pointing and refacing the north side of the building on Sixth Street was $13,000 something, so the Museum will have to come up with the $7,000 or $8,000 for restoring that front side. That entrance is used quite a bit on evening events with the people lucky enough to use the bank parking lot, and that’s a handicap entrance, too. It needs a facelift.”
Richards said the grants are provided in recognition of the positive impact that individual building renovations can have on the overall appearance and quality of their storefronts.
“We’re going to replace the entrance steps to the Kinney House,” said Jack Vetter, a local business owner. “There currently is sandstone that has deteriorated over the years, and they’re done. We found a replacement and we’re going to replace them with like materials and get the entrance back like it should be.”
The Building Improvement Committee met Wednesday and made final recommendations for this year’s recipients.
“The Building Improvement Grant Program is a wonderful opportunity for Main Street Portsmouth to empower local property owners to make necessary improvements to preserve the historic integrity of our city,” Richards said. “In order to be a recipient, the property owner signed a commitment form to furnish the remaining funding to finish the project. The applicants all shower their passion and willingness to invest in our town. We (Main Street Portsmouth) are so excited to be able to help with current projects and encourage future investments.”
The funded projects which will begin in 2011 include:
• Historic Kinney Home and current Raymond James Building, 429 Second St., repairing of masonry joints
• Portsmouth Brewing Company, 224 Second St., roof replacement
• Cirque d’ Art Theatre, 412-414 Chillicothe St., facade improvements
• Historic Eli Kinney Home, 317 Court St., accessibility improvements
• Smith Drugs, 741 Second St., restoration of exterior lighting
• Portsmouth Feed and Supply, 240 Second St., facade improvements
• Bougholtzer House, current law offices of Jeremy Burnside, 611 Court St., facade preservation
• Diamond Gem Lending Company, 400 Chillicothe St., masonry repair and paint
• Vicki’s Divine Design, 603 and 603 1/2 Second St., improvements to windows and doors
• Southern Ohio Museum, 825 Gallia St., building and facade improvements
Frank Lewis may be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 232, or firstname.lastname@example.org.