Downtown Vision, Inc. (DVI), the Downtown Improvement District, created a façade improvement grant program for Laura Street from Monroe Street to Independent Drive to leverage the public investment in the Laura Street Streetscape Improvement Project, stimulate private investment and enhance the pedestrian environment of the corridor. The program is designed to provide an economic incentive for private property and business owners to improve building facades and make their storefronts more attractive, which will help to bring more people Downtown.http://www.downtownjacksonville.org
Downtown Vision allocated $100,000 to provide matching grant funds for the program. The vision of the program is to increase the vitality of Laura Street. Placemaking elements desired include more outdoor cafés, improved signage, increased shade, exterior lighting, landscaping and public art. The grant program is designed as a pilot program to demonstrate that strategic and focused efforts in a concentrated area with a relatively small financial commitment will significantly improve the pedestrian environment.
Façade grant programs are an established best practice from cities throughout the country.
The application deadline for this pilot facade grant program is Tuesday, May 31, 2011.
If successful, the hope is that Laura Street will be transformed into an atmosphere similar to the image above.
Facade Improvement Grant Program Guidelines
A view of Laura Street as it stands today.
Application Procedure & Grant Process
For more information: Downtown Vision: Laura Street Facade Grant
Metro Jacksonville's Take
The Power & Light District in downtown Kansas City
The Laura Street Grant Program appears to be a solid step by DVI to entice existing businesses and building owners to improving the atmosphere along downtown's premier urban street. However, we would also suggest going one step further by aggressively working to alleviate the existing regulations and policies that stymie market rate creativity within the downtown core.
Article by Ennis Davis