Facade grant returns, city considers new fire suppression grant

The City of Ardmore is bringing back the downtown facade grant program for the third year in a row. The program provides up to $5,000 in matching funds for renovation to historic buildings. Community Development Director Jessica Scott said the program has been extremely successful so far and is part of the city’s push to promote renovation efforts in the downtown area.

“It’s just one more thing we’re doing to revitalize downtown. The first year we used all the money available, and this year we had four locations utilize the grants,” Scott said. “I think next year is going to be another big one.”

Scott said the city will have $35,000 in funds set aside for the program, and the money will be available when the new fiscal year begins on July 1.

The city is also looking into beginning a fire suppression grant for buildings located in the historic downtown district. In addition to helping preventing devastating fires such as the blaze that destroyed two historic buildings in downtown Guthrie earlier this year, fire suppression systems are required for certain types of businesses.

“These old buildings are all connected, and none of them were built at a time when people considered firewalls important,” Scott said. “So when people come in and say they want to put in a restaurant or put in apartments upstairs, they have to install a fire suppression system,” she said.

Scott said this can be an obstacle for potential growth because of the expense. 

“Fire suppression systems are expensive, and I’m hoping we can help people at least a little bit with a small matching grant,” Scott said. “It would be a great way to help us attract more business for downtown.”

Scott said that while she is unsure what amount of money will ultimately be available as part of the fire suppression grant, she hopes the amount per business will be at least $5,000.