By Frank Lewis
Main Street Portsmouth and the city of Portsmouth have partnered to offer a grant program for the purpose of promoting exterior building improvements to existing commercial properties in Portsmouth’s Downtown Improvement District.
The Building Improvement Grant Program was initiated when Main Street Portsmouth was awarded a $25,000 grant from Heritage Ohio and the Ohio Department of Development. Main Street Portsmouth has been able to continue the program with financial support from the city of Portsmouth which allocated funds for historic preservation from the Capitol Improvement Budget.
Main Street Portsmouth introduced the building improvement grant program as a method for property owners located within Main Street’s focus district the opportunity to receive grant dollars to restore, repair or renovate the exterior of their properties. Typical projects include, cleaning exterior facades, re-pointing masonry joints and sealing brick masonry, exterior painting, new roofing, the restoration or replacement of windows and doors, ADA accessibility and signage.
Sarah Surina, director of Main Street Portsmouth, said the goal of the program is to improve the structural integrity, longevity and overall physical appearance of commercial buildings in Portsmouth’s Downtown Improvement District, therefore increasing the value to the owner and the community. She said Main Street Portsmouth and the City of Portsmouth believe property owners are a vital component to the success of the redevelopment and economic revitalization efforts in Portsmouth.
“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 in our city,” Surina said. “To date we have granted 37 projects totaling $554,000 in post-rehabilitation.”
The number of property owners awarded will vary with the number of projects submitted and the number of projects approved. Each project approved is awarded up to 50 percent of the total cost. Each project approved will sign a letter of commitment indicating the property owner will provide at least 50 percent of the building improvement project costs and applicants have until Friday, Oct. 30 at 5 p.m. to turn in their applications. The Design Review Board will look over each project and approve them individually. The approved projects are then sent to the Building Improvement Grant program committee for distribution and allocation of the grant money.
Applications are available at the Main Street Portsmouth Office located at 342 Second Street inside the Scioto County Welcome Center, online at www.mspohio.org, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information call 740-464-0203. All applications, fees, and supporting documentation must be received by Main Street Portsmouth no later than Friday, Oct. 30, 2015.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.