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Home News-Telegram News Downtown panel OKs 1 grant request, postpones another; ordinance may be reviewed

Downtown panel OKs 1 grant request, postpones another; ordinance may be reviewed

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One application for a facade grant to refurbish a storefront on Main Street was approved Tuesday night by the city’s Downtown Revitalization Board, but another that would have been the largest ever approved was postponed. The postponed grant also may trigger a review of timetables laid out in the regulations governing the city grants.

Rick Murray had applied for a grant to offset the expected $48,000 cost to refurbish the facade of the old Knight’s Head Inn at 221 Main St., where he plans to open CiboVino Steaks. Murray already operates the successful and highly regarded CiboVino Italian Restaurant in Winnsboro, which features wood-fired ovens imported from Naples, Italy.

To redo the facade, Murray intends to remove all the existing building materials except for the masonry and cast columns, and install a new entry glass/wood/masonry storefront that conforms with the building’s age. Existing historic elements such as the “Knights of Pythias” symbol would be retained. The property at 219 Main St. would incorporate a wall system that allows glass and wood doors to fold out of the way to create outdoor seating.

Murray, a commercial contractor for 36 years, estimated the total cost of the refurbishing project at $48,000, about the same as the two properties’ estimated taxable market value.

Facade grants can be for up to 50 percent of a project’s cost, with a maximum grant of $20,000, which was the recommendation of the city’s staff. No other application has sought as large a grant.

The Downtown Board seemed ready to approve the aplication until a glitch came up, one that board members blamed on the rules, not Murray. The wording of the ordinance governing the facade grants requires funded projects to be completed within six months. Murray did not expect to have plans completed until September, with construction taking until April, beyond the six-month limit.

Rather than turn down the application outright, however, board members voted to table a decision until the next revitalization board meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 18, believing that will still give Murray enough time to complete his work.

Board members, along with Director of Community Development Johnny Vance, noted some projects could conceivably take more than six months to complete, and that factors such as materials availability and inclement weather can cause sufficient delays to extend a facade project beyond the deadline. There was a suggestion that the wording in the document might need review.

In other business, the board approved a facade grant application for property at 211 and 211 1/2 Main St. by Susan Payne, acting on behalf of the Loree S. Payne estate.

The total cost of improvements covered in the grant is $2,561.36. City staff recommended the full 50 percent match for a grant of $1,280.68, which the board approved.




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