City of Elizabethton to host public interest meeting for Downtown Improvement Grant

Published 10:29 pm Wednesday, January 5, 2022

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Last year, the City of Elizabethton was one of 14 communities across the state of Tennessee to receive a $150,000 grant for downtown improvements from the state of Tennessee’s Department of Economic and Community Development.

On Monday, the grant process will finally be set into motion as the city will host a public information meeting for anyone interested in applying.

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“We have been working on getting everything ready,” said Logan Engle, Elizabethton Director of Planning and Economic Development. “We have been working with the state, working with the First Tennessee Development District who will help us in administering the grant. It is at the point where it is time for us to go public and get people interested in applying for the grant.

“Applications will be available at the meeting on Monday, and at the meeting our goal is to explain the program in detail to all those interested,” said Engle.

The Downtown Improvement Grant, or DIG grant, is a 75- to-25 reimbursable grant, meaning those awarded would pay for the completion of their projects and be reimbursed 75% after everything is complete.

“Applicants that are eligible for the grant include those located in the Main Street District, which is more than just buildings located on Elk Avenue,” said Engle.

Examples of eligible projects to be completed with the DIG grant include masonry repairs and repointing bricks; repair, replacement, or preservation of historically significant architectural details; removal or reconstruction of false fronts; exterior painting; installation, replacement, or repair of awnings and canopies; window, signage, or door repair or replacement; etc.

All of these items are similar to that of the local facade grant awarded by the City of Elizabethton recently, but one main difference is that the DIG grant allows someone awarded to use the funds for outdoor signage.

“It feels really exciting to know that something you have worked hard to see accomplished is underway,” Engle said. “During the application process for the grant, we had to get letters of support and possible projects, and the response from our main street members and downtown business owners was tremendous, so it is very exciting for the downtown community as well.”

The public information meeting for the Downtown Improvement Grant will be held on Monday, Jan. 10 at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers of Elizabethton City Hall.