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City offers grants to fix up storefronts

The City of Evanston is seeking applications from businesses for its neighborhood storefront improvement program.


The City of Evanston is seeking applications from businesses for its neighborhood storefront improvement program.

“One of the goals of the City is to help small businesses improve their properties or buildings because creating more attractive neighborhood commercial districts helps grow their business,” said Sarah Flax, the city’s Community Development Block Grant administrator.

“We all succeed when our local businesses succeed and it is important to remember that small businesses are the drivers of job creation,” Flax said.

Projects covered by this program may be funded through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, the Economic Development Fund, or with Tax Increment Financing based on their nature and location.

The program is designed to improve the visual quality of commercial structures, sustain the vitality of neighborhood commercial centers, and encourage private investment.

Properties can qualify for $10,000 in CDBG funds per storefront or façade on a 50/50 sharing basis in the cost of labor, materials and architectural design for storefront improvement projects located in neighborhood business districts in Evanston.

For a business to get $10,000, the business needs to spend at least $20,000 and the maximum CDBG per business is $40,000.

This program has recently benefited Ted’s Restaurant on Crain Street as well as recently helping the STAMPfactory, an adaptive re-use project at the corner of Dewey and Payne.

That project converted several empty manufacturing and commercial buildings into 19 two-story live-work units.

The project has attracted new businesses to the city, increased the tax base, and helped revitalize the neighborhood.

“This program has made a big time positive impact on the community and I hope it continues,” said Andy Spatz, Adas/Spatz Properties developer of the STAMPfactory. “I was very pleased with the city while working with them to get this funding; the process was effective and straight forward.”

The City of Evanston currently has two other projects underway – North Suburban Automotive Supply Company at the corner of Howard and Custer and the property located at 1800 Dempster St., the new home of Sir Speedy Printing.

Projects must follow design standards established by the city. For more information on the program is available by calling 847.866.2928 ext. 2268.

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