Mar 07 2012
KYTX 19 (Texas) - by Amy Tatum
Downtown Longview is in the middle of a facelift, spanning several years. Part of the revitalization is because of a special federal grant program - all businesses have to do is match what they receive.
It's the Community Development Block Grant. That simply means, the main street board awards grants to downtown businesses so those businesses can then improve their facade. So far they've awarded $105,000 and they're getting ready to award even more.
"We've had water infiltration from the tile over 100 years. Water has seeped through the basement so we're working on sealing that up. Also we've stripped and started to re-stain the front," says Neina Kennedy, executive director at the Gregg County Historical Museum.
The museum has recently been awarded a grant from the main street board to fix all of these problems. "To be a non-profit organization you have to raise funds just to maintain your operation. The funds to run the building is outside of it," says Neina.
Missy Saunders with the main street board says these are matching grants. "They come in amounts of $10,000-$20,000 based on what you need. We've had 11 buildings downtown that have already taken advantage."
The funds help downtown businesses capitalize on their building's historical layout. It seems to be working. There is a noticeable increase in the traffic in downtown Longview. More businesses are moving in. "There's more activity and energy downtown," says Kennedy.
The main street board says that's exactly what these grants are all about. "Community pride, having a downtown where people want to come to visit and want to be a part of, to get businesses down here and people down here," says Saunders.
The grants are awarded on a first come first serve basis. Once the funds have been distributed for 2012, you'll have to wait until next year to submit an application. Interested businesses need to submit their application soon. There's $40,000 left for Longview businesses this year.
If you are interested in submitting an application for one of the main street grants -- you can contact the Longview Chamber of Commerce.