A group of downtown businesses will soon receive some needed upgrades.

The Main Street Advisory Board awarded four FIX-IT Facade grants to assist four downtown businesses with their improvement projects — totaling about $20,000 in funds — on Tuesday, Feb. 6 following city council approval at a recent meeting.

“The FIX-It Facade Grants have been one of the most effective tools encouraging rehabilitation of our downtown properties,” Main Street Advisory Director Kyle Kramm said during the meeting. “So we appreciate council being able to fund these grants.”

While the grants don’t fund an entire project, they do give some help.

The Aumont Hotel, 301 N. Austin St., is expected to receive $1,150 to help with the installation of a new awning and some painting. The grant will cover 50 percent of the project since the total cost is $2,300.

The Sleep Shop’s $11,105.97 grant, 104 N. Austin St., is $11,105.97 for the complete rebuilding of a storefront that will use an art deco design with new glass windows and plaster columns. The project cost is $33,321.25 and the grant will cover 33 percent.

Oehlke CPA, 107 S. River St., is looking to remove a glass window and replace it with an insulated glass door that will provide better access to the second floor with the $2,700 grant. The grant will cover 50 percent of the total cost of $5,400.

The Park Plaza Hotel and Chop House Bar and Grill is expected to improve their dining patio area, fix its grease trap, and seal any patches in the parking lot with a $4,962 grant. The assistance will cover 50 percent of the $9,924 project cost. 

The board had $30,000 to allocate this year — $5,000 from the General Fund and $25,000 of Hotel Occupancy Tax Funds — however it decided to only allocate $19,917.97 at this time. They will give a call out for a second round of possible projects in the spring for the remaining $10,082.03, Kramm said.

“The Board’s decision to not allocate the money at this time reflected their belief that there will be some important projects to fund in the near future as several buildings went under contract or sold around the time the applications for the grant were due,” Kramm said in a memo.

The grants were unanimously approved following a motion by councilman Mark Herbold and councilwoman Donna Dodgen.

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