Main Street Portsmouth recently closed a year of building improvements with the awarding of $25,000 in new grants.
Recipients to receive grants in the cycle included Portsmouth Cement and Lime, for $5,000; Tim Rayburn, $4050; Raymond James, $5,000; Hidden Treasures, $5,750; and Ghosts in the Attic, $5,200. These recipients start a year with plans of tuck-pointing, accessibility, roofing, and window repairs.
“The projects slated for this year’s grant are fantastic, key pieces of preservation and we are proud of our area businesses for taking the leap and making these needed investments,” Director Joseph Pratt said. This is also after one of Main Street Portsmouth’s largest giving years, which came in 2018.
Outside of the traditional $25,000 City of Portsmouth preservation grants, the group invested an additional $5,200 on Market Street painting, which came from its own budget, as well as a 2017 grant for $8,000 to Vanity Hair Salon for painting and tuck-pointing. The Glockner Foundation paid for the remainder of the painting, which came to just over $2,000.
Additionally, the group received a $5,000 grant from the Marting Foundation and $4,500 from the Glockner Foundation to go towards Second Street Painting. Something completely new was a $10,000 grant awarded through the Toyota Foundation, which the group worked in partnership with Tim Glockner. The grant was used to repair the badly damaged pavers on Market Square.
“We are extremely proud of last year’s efforts and the extra steps we took, thanks to the Marting, Toyota, and Glockner Foundations, as well as the additional funding from our own budget,” Pratt explained. “We are proud to just be a small portion of the $12,122,000.00 total invested in preservation efforts in the downtown for 2018.”
The main source of funding for this work comes from the City of Portsmouth, which is a partnership nearly a decade in the making. As a part of the funding received from council, half goes towards the building improvement grant program, $15,000 goes towards beautification, $10,000 goes towards events and keeping the lights on, and $5,000 goes towards the state and federal membership fees.
The Building Improvement Grant is a matching grant that covers, at most, half of the cost. Most of the time, however, the projects made possible are much costlier and make a large impact on the district. The grant is also a reimbursement, so the work accomplished on the historic property receiving the grant must be completed and evaluated before a check is cut.
One recipient of the grant in 2018 was Cinamon Wellington, owner of the Happy Pot. She replaced her roof, which was in dire need of attention.
“The Building Improvement Grant allowed us to replace our roof and windows in our first year of ownership of property 522 2nd Street Portsmouth, Ohio,” Wellington explained. “Without the grant, we would of not been able to make these improvements due to lack of finances.”
Wellington was the perfect example of the importance of this grant. Joyce Barrett, Executive Director for Heritage Ohio, the coordinating agency for the Ohio Main Street Program, agreed.
“I wish every community had a strong facade program like Portsmouth,” Barrett said. “Leveraging private investment in building improvements has been very smart for the community. When you invest small amounts like this, you see increased income, sales and property tax revenues, as well as improved properties and businesses.”
The group is excited to spend another year working with the mentioned businesses to accomplish their preservation efforts.
“We are building a fantastic community in the downtown that everyone can be proud to call home,” Pratt explained. “A major part of that comes from preservation efforts, so these buildings are here to stay for years to come. We take this task very seriously and are proud to have this partnership with the City of Portsmouth to make this opportunity possible.”
To reach Main Street Portsmouth, email Pratt at [email protected]