Through the work of the Hart Main Street Program, the City of Hart has been awarded a $209,120.00 Façade Improvement Grant. Hart Main Street has been working with downtown property owners since its inception to obtain a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for Façade Improvements downtown. On October 5th, they received a signed Grant Agreement from the CDBG program granting the City of Hart the $209,120.00. The Grant Agreement was approved by City Council at the October 9th meeting.
This summer Hart Main Street worked with representatives of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to identify projects that were likely to receive grant funding. The properties selected were 27 S. State Street (the old theater building), 111 S. State St (currently vacant), 115 S. State St (currently vacant) and 113 Washington St. (Hart Dental). The grant will pay for 75% of each project. Hart Main Street will contribute $1000.00 to each project and the property owners are responsible for the remaining costs. Hart Main Street Manager Krista Dornfried said, “We are very excited to see this project come to fruition. We began working on this project in 2011, but in early 2012 the funding for such grants was taken off the table. As soon as we heard the money was back on the table we sprang into action and were able to complete the application and receive a Grant Agreement in a relatively quick fashion.” Dornfried went on to say, “ We could not have moved this project along so quickly without the cooperation and dedication of our selected property owners.”
Many of our downtown property owners have worked with the Design Committee to obtain Design Services from the Michigan Main Street Program. Two of the four properties selected had received full Design Services previous to the application and the other two had received a Design Consultation from the Michigan Main Street Architect prior to having designs completed by a private company. “We are able to offer up to three free Design Services each year. This is one of the many great benefits we receive as a Michigan Main Street Program” stated Dornfried.
CDBG’s require applicants to complete an Environmental Review before grant applications are completed. In the case of a Façade Improvement Grant, all of the proposed projects must be approved by the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). The Design Services that downtown Hart property owners are eligible to receive come from a SHPO architect. Dornfried stated “The Environmental Review, which typically can hold up a project, went very smoothly for us since our property owners had worked with Kelly Larson of the SHPO on their project designs.”
111-115 S. State Street will begin construction this fall and you can expect to see the other properties begin construction in Spring of 2013. Hart Main Street is currently taking applications for Design Services, Main Street Area businesses are encouraged to pick up an application at our office or download one from our website at www.hartmainstreet.org. The City of Hart is eligible to apply for additional Façade Improvement Grants upon completing this project. Interested property owners should contact the Main Street Office at 231-301-8449.