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Shallotte business owners may be eligible for a reimbursement grant of monies used to enhance and beautify their existing business.
The town is offering mini-grants to business owners willing to invest in dressing up their businesses and helping to beautify Shallotte.
“Shallotte has basically an asphalt downtown. We don’t have a lot of green space,” said Mayor Sara McCullough. “We’re trying to get everybody on the same page to dress up our downtown area.”
Beautification projects are eligible for the grant and must be approved by the Main Street Enhancement Grant Committee. The town has $5,000 allocated in the 2013-14 fiscal year budget for matching grants and is willing to offer in-kind work for the removal of small concrete areas to increase green space. Grants will be awarded in $500 increments; however, special consideration will be taken for larger projects.
“To help get businesses started, we’re offering our services. All we are asking for is an application,” McCullough said. “We’re asking for businesses to apply, to give us a plan for what they’d like to do, and send in a few photos showing us what they’d like to do. Then we want the businesses to tell us how they plan to maintain it.”
McCullough said the town chose to start the project with a $500 limit to give as many businesses as possible a chance to receive the grant.
“If we had one business come to us with a great plan, but it cost $5,000, that’d be the entire fund,” she said. “We want to give plenty of people a chance to participate.”
Grants are strictly for landscaping projects to include window boxes, planters and the creation of green space. A business must be located within Shallotte city limits to qualify. Business owners who aren’t property owners must have an authorization letter from the property owner.
The Coastal Garden Club is aiding in the application process and will offer advice on the sustainability of projects. Projects must be maintained. If projects aren’t maintained, the applicant will not be eligible for future grants from the town, McCullough said.
Grants will be processed and considered for award on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are depleted or until the program ends, whichever comes first, McCullough said. No grant will be awarded to any applicant who owes any delinquent debt to the town.
All grants will be awarded on a reimbursement basis once completed work has been verified by the committee. All projects submitted for enhancement grants will be subject to a review by the committee. Projects must include a maintenance plan outlining future efforts to maintain the project. Applicants are asked to submit photographs/images of proposed planters, flowers etc. and a landscape plan.
Interested business owners who are unsure of a proposed plan may schedule a meeting to discuss ideas with the committee. Owners are asked to bring a photograph of their storefront.
McCullough said she doesn’t want Shallotte to be the place “people drove through on their way to somewhere else.”
“Hopefully when people hear Shallotte, they’ll stop and spend the day on our streets,” she said. “This project is not only to enhance the businesses but draw visitors and tourists to our downtown area.
“This will make Shallotte so much more attractive to visitors. This is something we’re really excited about.”
For more information, call 754-4032 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sam Hickman is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or email@example.com.