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 Point’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.
“Main 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 we’ve already got,” 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.
“For most people, the fronts of buildings — that’s our best advertisement for what’s inside these buildings,” Reed said. “If people ride through town and see neglected and unkept buildings, they’re going to assume what’s inside those buildings is neglected and unkept as well.”
The latter, Scott said, is far from the truth — but it’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 “billboard” for West Point’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 “aesthetic appeal” of West Point’s downtown businesses can only work to improve commerce.
“Lots of studies have been done that show visitors and shoppers like to enter stores that are appealing on the exterior,” Dyess said. “If 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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