Click to S.O.A.P. Augusts 5, 2011


Proceeds from Local Events Fund Downtown Facade Improvement Programs

Members of the Storytelling Festival Board present Trisha Black, SOA Executive Director with a $15,000 check for facade improvement programs. From left to right: Jeanette Dunnavant, Judge Jimmy Woodroof, Wayne Kuykendall, Storytelling Festival Board Chairman, Jim Hays, Board President, Black, Garner Ezell, Frank Travis, Shane Black and Rick Mould
Since 2008, the Storytelling Festival has sponsored education training opportunities for Spirit of Athens, commissioned an architect to do renderings of downtown, purchased garbage cans designed by local artisan Travis Fleming, and adorns downtown with Harvest decorations every October.

In August 2011, in addition to making a donation to the existing Spirit of Athens Facade Improvement grant program, the Storytelling Festival Board voted to fund a NO interest loan program.

The loan program will provide up to $5,000 toward improvements approved by SOA on a 50/50 match with a three year repayment period.

For example with these facade programs, if a business or property owner is considering a project costing $15,000, they can apply for the $1000 grant reimbursed once completed and also apply for the $5,000 loan with that amount repaid over three years-that’s about $139 per month.

“Spirit of Athens hopes that these incentives will encourage those owners that are considering doing facade renovations,” said Trisha Black, SOA Executive Director.  “Other Main Street communities have experienced great success with similar programs.”

“When we started the Storytelling Festival, one of our goals was to give back to the downtown district and participate in revitalization efforts,” said Jim Hays, Storytelling Festival Board President. “We are excited about this program and look forward to seeing it used to restore the historic charm of the downtown buildings.”
The Annual Cars on the Square committee also recently donated $2000 of their proceeds to be used in the already existing grant program. 

Tony McCormack, SOA Board member and Trisha Black, SOA Executive Director receive check for $2000 from proceeds from the 2011 Cars on the Square.  Car show representatives presenting check is Tom Schuman, Ira Whitehead and Dwight Billions.

“Although downtown events can draw large crowds, some visiting for the first time, it can be a strain on businesses when the streets are closed,” explains Black.  “Special events don’t necessarily ring those registers that day, but those attending are likely to return to shop at a later date.”

“Downtown businesses now have the opportunity to apply for funds that were generated from these events and will hopefully ease some of the financial burden for facade maintenance and improvements,” said Black. 

The grant application can be found on SOA’s website, www.spiritofathens.com, or by request 256-232-9040.  The loan program application will be available after September 1, 2011.