Perry Randall takes
a walk along the Milwaukee River while on his lunch
break Wednesday afternoon in West Bend.
John Ehlke/Daily News
West Bend business owners and retailers who want to
improve or upgrade the appearance of their store fronts
can petition city officials for the necessary funding.
Common Council members voted to approve a measure during
Monday’s meeting authorizing city officials and staff to
manage the facade improvement grant that was previously
overseen by representatives from the West Bend Economic
“The West Bend EDC currently has the facade improvement
grant, and they had approached the city in the Downtown
Business Improvement District to do is take over the
management of the facade improvement grant,” Economic
Development Manager Adam Gitter said.
Rather than instituting a two-step process where
applicants would approach members of the Improvement
District and the eventually the city, Gitter recommended
that city staff and officials oversee the program and
make the decisions regarding the award.
According to the updated manual, the purpose of the
grant is to “preserve, enhance and restore the
historical and architectural significance of buildings”
in the area.
fund has $37,000 procured by members of the Economic
measure was introduced by Kirk Emerich, president of the
Economic Development Corporation, who said he wanted
another organization to oversee the funds and manage the
“They have the manpower to manage it,” he said referring
to the Improvement District. “I don’t have any paid
staff at the EDC.”
Gitter included a program manual as part of his
presentation, highlighting aspects of the program that
include the eligibility requirements, evaluation
criteria and the amount of money applicants can receive
if they are provided an award.
general, this is a matching grant,” Mayor Kraig
Sadownikow said. “It is not a revolving loan, so if the
owner comes up with at least $10,000, we would consider
granting an equivalent amount.”
manual states that applicants must leverage 60 cents per
dollar of private funds for every 40 cents per dollar of
grant money requested. It also stipulates a maximum
award of $5,000, but Gitter has indicated there could be
flexibility with that threshold.
have made some changes to include the Barton Historic
Commercial District,” Gitter said.
the previous version of the manual, only retailers in
the downtown area were eligible for a potential award.
The manual indicates that applications will be evaluated
based on the cost of the cost and sustainability of the
project, it’s contribution to the community, as well as
the amount of private investment the applicant can
obtain. The projects that can secure a higher level of
private contributions will be more favorably viewed.
manual states funding is available for retailers to
improve their signage, window repair and replacement,
sidewalk and restoration or replacement, as well as
masonry or awning upgrades.
Priority for the award will be based on the eligibility
of the applicants, the size of the grant request, the
completeness of the application and other factors.
see some wording that you have got for the backs of the
buildings, at least for the BID District, which I think
is great,” Sadownikow said. “As we continue to improve
the river, it would be nice to encourage folks there.”