(Beaver Dam) The Beaver Dam Common Council is expected to review the guidelines for downtown revitalization grants at their next meeting. The grants will all be approved by the new Downtown Redevelopment Committee, which met last week for the first time and reviewed the grant guidelines and application forms.
The grants had most recently been approved by the Community Development Committee. Prior to transferring the grant approval function to the new committee, there were concerns raised by the CDC about the guidelines being confusing and oversimplified.
City Building Inspector John Moosereiner outlined the modest updates for the new committee. Moosereiner says that the grant application forms did not change much, except to add the name of the new committee. There was, however, a program summary added to the Building Improvement Grant, increasing the form from two pages to three pages.
The Building Improvement Grant is a matching grant that awards up to $20-thousand dollars with the intention of (quote) “significantly” effecting attractiveness and marketability of the property. Qualifying improvements include restoring or replacing historical façades and replacing existing façade with more appropriate and attractive designs and materials. Roof repairs and tuck pointing are not eligible.
The city also offers a New Downtown Business Recruitment Grant to incentivize new businesses to locate downtown and improve the property. The maximum award is $5000. That grant has a one-page application with five additional pages of guidelines and eligibility criteria.
The city council will have to approve the guidelines before any grants can be awarded. Moosereiner says there are currently ten pending applications.
The Downtown Redevelopment Committee consolidates the functions of two other committees. The Community Development Committee is tasked with advancing, to the full city council, the sale of incentivized property in Beaver Dam’s business parks. The now-defunct Landmark Commission approved exterior alterations of downtown buildings under a set of criteria called Design Review Guidelines. Both committees had, at one time or another, approved downtown revitalization grants which is now the function of the new committee.
The money for the grants comes from revenue generated as part of a Tax Increment Finance District and must be used downtown. The new Downtown Redevelopment Committee is the only entity that approves the grants, under criteria to be ratified by the full city council. The new committee also continues the work of the Landmark Commission in regulating exterior building aesthetics.