The Town of Smiths Falls will move ahead with plans to make grants under the Community Improvement Program (CIP) available to more downtown businesses.
The minimum grant to be awarded under the program, which makes a total of $50,000 available each year for improvements to the facades or interiors of businesses located within the designated CIP area, will be lowered to $500 from $2,500.
Senior town planner Nicole Dwyer told town councillors at a Feb. 13 meeting that this will increase the number of businesses eligible to take advantage of the program. Since the grant money must be matched by the businesses, some could not afford to spend $2,500 under the previous guidelines.
In a second change to the CIP program, approval for grants under $4,000 will be delegated by council to the CIP Evaluation Committee. By delegating some authority, council will be helping to eliminate some “red tape,” said Dwyer. Successful grant applications will still require council’s final approval before any money is spent, however.
At the Feb. 13 meeting council also received a $10,000 CIP application from Hy Fund Studio and Elizabeth Interiors, located at 6-8 Chambers Street, for assistance in renovating the building.
Although a total of $50,000 is available each year, said Dwyer, “We exhausted that last year and I fully expect that we will exhaust it this year.”