SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Downtown Lennox could be headed for a facelift under a grant program organized by the Lennox Area Development Corporation (LADC) with help from the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance.
A program will give a $5,000 grant to qualified owners to upgrade their building facades on the city’s main street. The building owner will need to match that $5,000.
This is for more than a change in cosmetics, said Ryan Solberg of the Sioux Metro Growth Allliance.
The grant can be used to replace awnings, windows, doors and other facade elements.
The program is an investment in the city’s downtown core to make even more inviting to residents and guests, Solberg said.
It’s been used successfully in Madison.
“It’s absolutely noticeable,” said Eric Fosheim, the former executive director of the Lake Area Improvement Corporation in Madison. It’s common to get comments about how nice the downtown looks, Fosheim said.
Not only are the improvements noticeable, they create additional energy, said Brooke Rollag, the current executive director of the Lake Area Improvement Corporation.
“This is above and beyond slapping some paint on a building,” Rollag said.
Building owners that replaced windows replaced them with more energy efficient and attractive windows, Rollag said as an example.
She’s been impressed with how creative the improvements are in downtown buildings.
“I love seeing the personalities of each business,” Rollag said.
The slideshow below is of examples of changes made in downtown buildings in the Madison facade program. Photos are courtesy of the Lake Area Development Corporation.
Solberg said a program goal in Lennox is to make main street even more attractive to customers.
Fosheim said Madison had a good downtown but it also had business growth along State Highway 34.
Community leaders wanted to help ensure the core of the city remained strong when the facade program started, Forsheim said.
“This is a nice revamp of the core, bringing excitement,” Fosheim said.
While $5,000 is not large compared to projects that provide tens of thousands but it’s a boost to building owners, the three officials said. When it’s combined with other projects, the amount is significant.
The investment receipts in Madison in 2021 at least $100,000, Rollag said. Lake Area Development and its partners are working on another round.
“We are so excited to launch it again,” Rollag said.
Solberg said the $5,000 could lead to other investments.
“What were hoping is to get folks further incentivized to invest in these buildings,” Solberg said.
Fosheim and Rollag said that’s happened in Madison.
“There’s a number of examples,” Fosheim said. “A building owner may have been looking at replacing windows but with these additional funds, they put their own funds into additional siding.”
Often, a project, “keeps evolving,” Rollag said.
Lennox plans to review program applications this spring, Solberg said. Applications are for building owners but program officials are willing to work with building owners and renters who may own a business in the building, he said.
Rollag encouraged building owners in Lennox to consider the match grant program.
She sees the results in Madison each day she’s downtown.