BY JUSTIN MINYARD
A booming, bustling downtown is a critical role in city commerce, recognition and community pride. The West Point Main Street Association (MSA) has sunk its heels deeper into further progressing and revitalizing West Pointâ€™s historic downtown by offering a 50-50 match Facade Rehabilitation grant to local business and building owners for small-scale renovations.
Scott Reed, MSA president, said MSA has toiled with hosting a similar grant program in the past, but has rejigged the concept to produce the aforementioned grant.
â€śMain Street has done it in the past with the goal of helping downtown businesses and building owners (so they) have a way to improve what weâ€™ve already got,â€ť Reed said.
Without the strong auxiliary of a strong downtown aesthetic, according to Reed, individuals are less likely to make their entrance into a building or business based solely off of an unkept front facade. The goal in revitalizing downtown business facades through this grant, he added, stems from a want to garner more public commerce in local, namely downtown, businesses.
In addressing this goal, MSA members, according to Scott, believe that face-value judgments on behalf of prospective clients and purchasers are crucial as they determine what business will receive their transactions.
â€śFor most people, the fronts of buildings â€” thatâ€™s our best advertisement for whatâ€™s inside these buildings,â€ť Reed said. â€śIf people ride through town and see neglected and unkept buildings, theyâ€™re going to assume whatâ€™s inside those buildings is neglected and unkept as well.â€ť
The latter, Scott said, is far from the truth â€”Â but itâ€™s a fact that needs to be accommodated and worked with in West Point. Scott compared the front facades of Main Street businesses as the â€śbillboardâ€ť for West Pointâ€™s downtown area.
The grant is a 50-50 match up to $500 on behalf of MSA. Reed said were an individual business or building owner to propose a $750 project, the MSA will supplement that individual with $375 for renovations. Reed said the MSA has set aside $3,000 to assist up to six businesses and building owners with facade renovations.
And it could be for any number of projects, according to MSA Design Committee Co-Chairman Kathy Dyess, who echoed Reed in that the â€śaesthetic appealâ€ť of West Pointâ€™s downtown businesses can only work to improve commerce.
â€śLots of studies have been done that show visitors and shoppers like to enter stores that are appealing on the exterior,â€ť Dyess said. â€śIf they look bright and well kept, they look like they have something interesting on the inside because (the building is) interesting on the outside.
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