Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Board Business Owners May Apply for Colorado Main Street Grants

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“This is an opportunity for the business owners and the people like we have never seen before for funds to work on their buildings,” City Manager Rick Klein said. “Certain criteria is there… but it’s a fast turnaround and the State is doing that by design to get things rolling again.” The City of La Junta is now accepting sub-grant applications from qualifying businesses to be presented to DOLA for Main Street Open for Business Grants. The grant program is meant to increase a property’s value and aesthetic appeal, increase sales for businesses, reduce energy costs and stimulate job creation.

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Colorado communities receiving a Main Street Open for Business Grant may receive up to $1 million for façade and energy efficiency improvements with a 20% cash match. Individual project sub-grants for businesses typically range from $10,000 to $150,000 according to sub-grant information from the City of La Junta.

“La Junta Urban Renewal got together and voted that they would spend up to $100,000 on the 20% cash match that is required,” said Cynthia Nieb, director of economic development and urban renewal.

Qualifying businesses include building owners and occupants with a lease of five or more years. A qualifying business must also be located within the La Junta Main Street District which includes non-residential areas between San Juan and Raton avenues and from First to Sixth streets.

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“It’s a game changer,” Nieb said. “What’s the first thing people see when they go in your downtown to shop? They look at your storefront. It’s giving you the opportunity to change out your storefront so that it is more appealing and it pulls those people in.”

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Façade improvements that may be eligible for sub-grant projects include non-historical false front removal, repair or replacement of various aspects, masonry maintenance, new awnings, permanent signage, landscaping improvements, exterior lighting, painting, covering design costs and improving exterior access to the building.

Energy efficiency improvements eligible for sub-grant monies may include upgrades to HVAC equipment, roofing repairs, lighting, solar panels, insulation, electric water heaters and the addition of energy efficient lighting such as LEDs.

“There is some things people have been waiting to do because they just didn’t have the money to do it and this gives them the opportunity to do it,” Nieb said. “It is a great opportunity as well for the community to actually get involved… Lots of people already have projects in the hopper, they just didn’t have the money.”

For more information on Main Street Open for Business Grants, including application materials, Nieb can be contacted at 303-518-8261 or emailed at cynthia.nieb@lajuntacolorado.org.

Application materials must be emailed to Nieb by midnight of August 13.

La Junta Tribune-Democrat reporter James Bartolo can be reached by email at JBartolo@gannett.com

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