Fifth round of WIF grants offered
This year Main Street Washington has $50,000 to distribute as part of the Washington Incentive Fund (WIF) to help property owners in the downtown area and began taking applications Monday.
Main Street Washington director Sarah Sadrakula said Monday that the money will be distributed to main street district building owners. She said Main Street has released information on the types of projects that will qualify for matching funds. She said that interested parties should return a letter of intent to the Main Street office by 4 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29.
“My committee will go out and talk to the people who turn in those letters and give them an application with extra materials that may help firm up the project and scope, then go through the actual application process,” she said. “The actual applications are due Wednesday, Feb. 26. Those are the final applications that will go in for scoring and we will announce the grant recipients after that.”
She said that WIF is a pool of money that requires a 50/50 match. She said that the program has been successful to encourage property owners to proceed with projects they had been considering. The projects are designed to help the owners do something to buildings that will preserve it, maintain it and keep the feel of the downtown area.
Main Street Washington began giving WIF grants in 2009. This is the fifth grant round, Sadrakula said. She said that depending on the money available, the group has done at least one grant round per year. Grants can range from $1,000 to $10,000. In the past when there has been more funding, the grant amounts have been bigger. Larger grants have been given to such projects as the State Theatre and café dodici.
“There are a myriad of things it could be, but we recommend people ask questions and we follow a pretty strict set of guidelines for the historic preservation of buildings, so we are going to ask applicants to follow those best practices, which is being sensitive to original materials and repairing vs. replacing at all costs,” Sadrakula said.
She also said when possible, Main Street hopes older windows can remain in downtown buildings. She said the committee can give recommendations to applicants to help them score better on the grant review. She said the committee has great resources to help owners preserve the historic feel of buildings. Sadrakula said she personally has a graduate degree in the field.
Since the program began, grants have been given to 33 building projects in the downtown area and distributed $284,000. Funding for the program has come from grants from the Washington County Riverboat Foundation. Sadrakula said that statistically for every dollar the building owner spends, there is a return on investment of $7.
Anyone wanting more information or an application can contact Sadrakula at 653-3918.