Written by Phil Cerroni
By Amanda Casanova
Business owners and tenants in the Heritage Crossing can start applying for up to $25,000 in City funds to redo the fronts of their facilities, Kevin Kass, redevelopment administrator for the City, announced at a Heritage Crossing Merchants Alliance meeting on Feb. 25.
The Downtown Façade Enhancement Program, approved by the Irving City Council, allows business owners to receive up to $25,000 in reimbursements for enhancements to front facades. Examples of such improvements include doors, windows and awnings.
The program is part of a City effort to jumpstart development in the Heritage Crossing district, an area that business owners have long said struggles to compete with other cities’ downtown areas.
“We’re looking to improve the downtown appearance in order to attract additional developers, attract tourism and bring some of these buildings up to code compliance,” Kass said.
If approved for the program, building owners have 180 days to complete the work and they must maintain the improvements for five years. Only one award is available per year per plotted lot, according to Kass.
The City will reimburse owners within 45 days of project completion.Partial or uncompleted work will not be eligible for reimbursement.
The program is available to business owners from Sowers Road to Strickland Plaza and south of Irving Boulevard to 2nd Street.
“We’re not just talking about signage,” Kass said. “There’s got to be a wow factor. People will drive through and say, ‘Wow, now that’s really nice.’”
The Council has allotted $100,000 for the program to start, but Councilman Michael Gallaway, who attended the Heritage Crossing meeting, said the Council would consider increasing funding.
“We didn’t have a good feel for how many people would be interested, so if it really takes off we could adjust the budget,” Gallaway said.
Applications for the program are available at cityofirving.org/heritagecrossing.