The first grants for improving the appearance of downtown businesses in Monett are now being offered through the Monett Main Street program.
Three grants are available for matching funds up to $1,500 for facade improvements. Business owners must submit proposals to the Main Street Design Committee for review.
"This is one of the goals established by one of Main Street's four committees," said Bob Berger, chairman of the design committee. "We're trying to foster interest in the downtown, particularly in exterior repairs."
Projects should enhance the social, cultural and environmental well-being of historic downtown Monett. The targeted area is north to south on Bond, Broadway or Front streets, and west to east on Second through Seventh streets.
"These are not intended to be major capital investments," Berger said. "We're looking for incremental, quick and easy projects that are relatively inexpensive. It's something to be done in six months or less."
The committee is anticipating proposals such as putting up awnings, minor storefront upgrades, painting, door or window glass replacement and trim screens. Berger stressed projects must focus on storefronts, not back alleys.
"We want projects that somebody walking down Broadway will see it and say, 'That's new,'" Berger said.
Applications are available at the Monett Chamber of Commerce office at 200 E. Broadway. Proposals should include a sketch or catalog excerpt showing an example of the work and anticipated cost.
The Main Street Design Committee will review all proposals and make a recommendation to the Monett Main Street Board of Directors. Three grants will be awarded. Applications are due by June 30, and grant recipients will be announced by July 15.
Building owners will be required to complete projects on their own. Grant money will be awarded upon completion. Berger said the procedure will guarantee funds are awarded to pay for work that is completed.
To get the maximum amount of participation, Main Street is delivering grant information to all the local business owners and mailing copies to out-of-town owners through the chamber. Adriana Salas, chamber administrative assistant, is personally delivering copies to Hispanic business owners.
"This is unrelated to anything coming from DREAM (the Downtown Revitalization and Economic Assistance for Missouri Initiative)," said Berger. "Design standards coming from DREAM are nowhere near ready and will only be suggestions. We're looking for doable projects where we can get the best bang for the buck and jump start the process."