Worthington News

Worthington may help fund industrial building fix-ups

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Money soon might become available to fix up building exteriors in the city's industrial area.

The city will focus its grant/loan program on the buildings along Huntley and Proprietors roads, most of which were built in the 1970s and are showing their age.

Worthington City Council on Feb. 10 heard a report on the ReCAP (Re-emergent Corridor Assistance Program).

At the request of council, economic development manager Jeff Harris will further define how to assess the program before returning to council with proposed legislation to fund the program with $100,000 for 2014.

The money would go toward combination grants and no-interest loans that would be available to property owners or tenants on Huntley or Proprietors.

The city would accept applications for the program. They would be reviewed by the Community Improvement Corp., which would make recommendations to council.

Those approved could receive up to $25,000 for exterior improvements that would make a major visual change. Projects that might be approved include masonry cleaning, enhanced lighting, new doors or windows, landscaping or street furniture, sidewalks or curbs, signs and stormwater improvements in parking lots.

Routine maintenance and interior improvements would not be eligible for the grant/loan program.

The city would match equally the amount of money the private owner would pay for the improvements. Half of the money from the city would be a grant, with the other half a no-interest loan for up to three years.

The purpose of ReCAP is to continue to attract and retain commercial renters and owners, increase rental rates and occupancy, and qualitatively improve the aesthetics of the area, Harris said.

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