Back door grant deadline extendedPublished 12:10pm Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Downtown property owners now have until the end of May to apply for matching grants to improve the back entrances of their buildings.
The back way into businesses will be crucial for customers this summer as the city reconstructs Broadway and its underground infrastructure, blocking front entrances.
The Albert Lea City Council last week approved extending the deadline for back door improvement grant applications for the Broadway Ridge Renewal Grant program.
The matching grants of $2,500 have been set up to help property owners whose front door access may be interrupted during the Broadway reconstruction project.
Albert Lea City Manager Chad Adams said city officials recognized that some businesses may have been waiting for the City Council to approve the streetscape project before investing in back door improvements. With the council awarding the contract for the project April 22, it would have been difficult for businesses to turn around an application by today.
“We hope the improvements to the back entrances will provide better accessibility and attract patrons to frequent the businesses throughout the summer,” Adams said.
Buildings on Broadway from Fountain Street to Main Street are eligible for the funding, and projects must be completed by July 31.
The Broadway Ridge Renewal Grant was created in February 2011, replacing a loan program that had been in place since 2007. It was created through contributions from the city and Freeborn County to encourage downtown redevelopment.
Though the grant was initially set up to provide financial assistance to property owners interested in facade improvements, it has since expanded to include smaller projects as well.