Lansing initiates program to enhance Ridge Road downtown district

2012-11-04T18:00:00Z 2012-11-04T19:20:11Z Lansing initiates program to enhance Ridge Road downtown districtGregory Tejeda Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
November 04, 2012 6:00 pm  • 

LANSING | The Village Board later this month may approve recipients of a new program that helps businesses on Ridge Road make improvements to their properties.

Kristi DeLaurentiis, the village’s director of planning and development, said the Façade Improvement Grant program has received seven applications from businesses and one from a property owner since it began in mid-September.

None of those applicants has yet to be approved by DeLaurentiis for grants, which would have to receive final approval in public from the Village Board before funds could be disbursed.

But DeLaurentiis said “it may” be possible for some of those applications to be processed in time for consideration when the Village Board meets again Nov. 20. “We’d like to get this on the November docket,” she said.

DeLaurentiis said the program has been a “good success” because there has been such interest in the grants. Businesses applying for the Façade Improvement program must be located within the Ridge Road tax increment finance district, which extends from Burnham Avenue east to State Line Road, and the majority of the building’s first floor must be dedicated to nonresidential use.

If approved, a grant from the village could pay for up to half the cost of improvements, although a $50,000 limit will be placed on individual grants. Projects that use Lansing-based contractors to do the work could get up to 10 percent more in reimbursement.

Businesses could receive the grants once every three years, according to the grant program’s application packet published on the village’s website.

DeLaurentiis said village officials think this is a worthy use of local funds if it gets businesses to take better care of their property.

“It’s a partnership, really,” she said. “We’re investing money in our downtown businesses to try to make the area more economically viable.”

Businesses doing better financially are likely to pay more to the village in taxes, officials have said.

“We see it as making our money go farther,” DeLaurentiis said.

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