February 16 • 04:36 PM

Grants help to fund downtown facelifts

Workers from Miller Log Homes affix new log siding to Maria’s Place as part of DDA facade project. photo by Tom Wearing.
November 12, 2008
ALMONT — Anyone strolling or driving through the village this week may have noticed a flurry of activity downtown.

Much of the activity centered around a pair of Downtown Development Authority-sponsored facade improvements taking place at Main Street businesses.

At 106 S. Main St., which is home to Dr. Lois Meek's dental offices, Tim Blakely of T&B Painting was putting the finishing touches on the upper level of a $20,000 renovation project.

Blakely noted that Dr. Meek had selected colors consistent with the historical structure's original appearance. The building is believed to have been constructed in the 1860s or 1870s.

To assist with the project, the Almont DDA has contributed two grants totaling $6,000 as part of the village's facade improvement loan program.

Across the street, Maria's Place restaurant at 141 S. Main St. was undergoing yet another major facelift.

There, workers from Miller Log Homes of Brown City were tearing off the old vinyl facade and replacing it with log siding. Assisting in the process were employees from Anything Electric of Almont, who were installing new wiring and lighting to the front of the building. The $7,000 facade improvement project was the beneficiary of a $1,500 grant from the DDA.

"These are big projects," said DDA Director Nancy Boxey. "It's good to see businesses investing in the community and helping to keep jobs downtown.

"It's an example of our mission to preserve historic buildings and to encourage economic revitalization," she said.

Dr. Meek expressed appreciation to the DDA for its financial assistance with the project.

"The economic outlook is all doom and gloom," said Meek, "but we're all trying to keep our businesses going.

"We've got a good commuity here. People are taking some risks and a lot of them are paying off. I think that's a positive sign."

Other businesses that have recently applied for and have or will receive DDA grant money to make physical improvements, include: The Cinnamon Stick, Steve Schneider's law office and the Paradise Saloon.

"The community is beginning to take notice of all the improvements," said Boxey. "They're realizing the difference basic upgrades can make in the appearance of their buildings. I anticipate this program will continue to grow."

For more information, call the Almont DDA office at 798-8125 or visit the Web site at:

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