Five downtown Alpena properties receive grants for facade improvements | News, Sports, Jobs

Courtesy Photo
The Old Polish Corner in Alpena is seen in this undated photo provided by the Alpena Downtown Development Authority.

ALPENA — Five downtown Alpena properties will receive grant funding from the Alpena Downtown Development Authority for property improvements.

The $223,795 in facade improvement money came from a grant the DDA received from the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

The DDA Facade Grant Program offers grants of up to $10,000 per facade, with a required 50% cash match from the grant recipient for rehabilitation of building exteriors that face a public right-of-way or public parking lot.

The properties that received funding during the latest round of grants include Gray and Associates, Players Pub and Grub, the Old Polish Corner, the block of business near Bolenz Jewelry, and a property at 311 W. Chisholm St.

The owner of the Old Polish Corner, Brian Peterson, and Players Pub and Grub owner Ben Young both sit on the DDA board but recused themselves from discussion and voting on the projects related to their businesses. Neither Peterson nor Young sit on the DDA board’s Design and Beautification Committee, which reviews grant applications and recommends recipients to the full DDA Board.

Todd Britton, who also sits on the DDA board, also recused himself from one of the votes because his company intends to bid on the construction project.

In total, the DDA received seven grant applications.

Anne Gentry, DDA executive director, said one of the seven proposed projects was pulled from consideration because the applicants want to change the design. That property owner intends to submit another application later this year.

Another application was denied because the owner of the property is seeking a larger grant from the MEDC. The DDA cannot use the MEDC funds it received for facade grants on projects that may or have received funding directly from the MEDC.

A second round of funding for properties within the DDA boundaries remains available, with applications due May 24. Gentry said about $246,205 will be handed out.

The Facade Grant Program was developed to enhance the historic character of downtown Alpena through grants for projects that improve and preserve the exteriors of existing historic buildings.

Properties located within the boundary of Alpena’s downtown district engaging in retail, commercial, entertainment, mixed-use, or office services are eligible for grant requests. In February, the DDA expanded the program to allow residential properties to apply for funding through the Facade Grant Program.

For more information, contact Gentry at 989-356-6422.

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