The City of Ardmore is close to awarding all $25,000 set aside this year for the facade grant program. Since the beginning of the fiscal year in July, over $17,000 has been granted to downtown businesses. The committee will be meeting before the end of the month to review new applications and award the last of the funds.
Recipients have six months to complete renovations after being approved, and all businesses planning to participate in the program for fiscal year 2019-2020 must be approved by Dec. 31. New funds will be available again in July.
Community Development Director Jessica Scott said because many recipients did not ask for the maximum amount of $5,000, the city has been able to give funds to more businesses.
“We’ve been lucky because not everyone asked for the full amount, so more people have been able to get the grant,” Scott said. “People are starting to realize it's worth it even for the small projects and not just the large ones.”
Businesses that participated in the program this year include Cook Paint, Antiques Etc., Casa Romo, and Marvin’s Place Art Gallery. Todd Yeager, owner of Marvin’s Place, praised the program and his experience working with the city.
“As long as you have a good plan and something that isn’t totally crazy, they’re really easy to work with, and it was easy getting the money back from the grant,” Yeager said.
Yeager's renovation took place earlier this fall. He based the new look on a historic photo of the building found by the Ardmore Main Street Association. In the picture taken sometime in the early 20th century, small rectangular windows were above a flat awning. These features had all been covered up over the years.
“We used to have a wood frame awning with some shake shingles on it that was probably installed back in the 70s or 80s,” Yeager said. “When we pulled off the wood, the old awning was actually still there, so we reinforced that, fixed a little bit of dry rot, and installed the chains for extra support.”
The original windows had been completely covered with stucco, so new custom windows were installed after the stucco was ripped out.
“I love the way it looks now. When you’re walking up there’s an entirely different feeling than what it was with the big overhang,” Yeager said. “We really wanted to preserve as much of the building’s history as we could, and I think we’ve been able to do that.”