The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


November 1, 2009

Grant gives owners money to renovate

SELINSGROVE -- Business and homeowners in downtown Selinsgrove will have spent $45,000 of their own money, and $30,000 of the state's, for 2009 facade projects that will soon be completed.

Eight buildings have benefited from $30,000 in grants through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

The grant matched up to $5,000 spent by businesses and residents on projects for which they had applied.

The grant sparked interest in the Central Business District, which last year saw only $25,900 spent by business and home owners on facade projects, according to Jessica Newell, Selinsgrove's Main Street manager and member of the Selinsgrove Design Committee's Facade Project.

"As you can see, providing the grant greatly increased the amount invested in the downtown," she said.

Qualifying businesses, building owners or homeowners in Main Street territory paid at least $5,000 for the projects.

Maryanne Pinand, of 101 N. Market St., spent $20,000 of her own money in a $25,000 renovation project this year that included a new mansard roof with fixing trim, painting, new shingles, spouting and repaired balcony on the side. Slate tiles were removed, but the shingles closely mimic the original tile, Newell said.

Four of seven businesses were awarded $5,000 in matching grant money.

"You know they were substantial projects," Newell said, as they would have equaled at least $10,000.

The goal is to preserve the downtown, and to encourage businesses to take pride in their surroundings, Newell said.

The design committee chose the best applications, and helped businesses to make the best decisions for improvements.

Seven businesses received matching grant money.

"They are very excited about it," Newell said. "You never know how it's going to be received when it starts."

The first application was received in July, and all the funds were exhausted by September.

Keller's Beer, of 21 S. Water St., now has a new stone and brick exterior, new paint, a new sign and lighting, and will also install a new metal roof.

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