Friday, February 08, 2008

Grants Give Businesses A Face-Lift

Grants Give Businesses A Face-Lift
By Carol Bogart | Daily Republic | February 07, 2008

The Athenian Grill's new awnings and exterior paint were paid for through Suisun City's Facade Improvement Grant program. Eligible businesses can apply for grants up to 10000 dollars to pay for exerior improvements. Photo by Mike McCoy

SUISUN CITY - If some businesses in Suisun City appear all spruced up, it may be a result of the city's Facade Improvement Grant program.

Athenian Grill and a new dance studio, Just Gotta Dance, have fresh coats of paint and new awnings. The work was funded through h grants awarded by the city's Economic Development Department.

Don and Arlene Grass, owners of Just Gotta Dance, bought their building nine years ago. The grant saved the couple $8,000 on paint, awnings and new gutters.

Arlene Glass said the application process, which involved submitting three bids to the city, was simple. She added that she and her husband found the program to be 'absolutely wonderful.'

Vivien Togonon is project manager for the Facade Improvement Grant program and the Matching Rehabilitation Grant program, which benefits eligible businesses.

To be eligible, a commercial building must be located within the city's redevelopment project area. Togonon said the city's Redevelopment Agency provides the money. To date, four businesses have been awarded facade improvement grants, she said, and one has used the Matching Rehabilitation Grant.

The Matching Rehabilitation Grant matches a business owner's equity investment dollar for dollar up to $25,000. It can be tapped to pay for such items as seismic upgrades, electrical and plumbing upgrades, and tenant improvements.

The Facade Improvement Grant can only be used for exterior improvements to $10,000.

Such improvements, which can include window glazing and signs, must be integrated into a comprehensive architectural theme, according to grant requirements.

With both grant programs, the improvements must be consistent with city zoning ordinance and be approved by the Community Development and Economic Development departments.

Reach Carol Bogart at 427-6955 or at

To learn more about applying for a Facade Improvement Grant or Matching Rehabilitation Grant, go to Click on Business and then go to Economic Development. For more information, call project manager Vivien Togonon at 421-7347.

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