DAYTON, Ky. – Dayton’s City Council approved a roughly $500,000 program to support existing downtown business and attract new business investments Tuesday.
The program, called the Commercial Community Advantage Program, offers incentives to defray costs for current and prospective businesses in the city’s downtown Central Business District in four areas – rental, signage, commercial property, and structural.
“We hope to raise the standard of living so people will start investing more in the community,” said Anthony Cadle, manager of Dayton’s Main Street program, a city department focused on the revitalization of the community’s downtown through historic preservation and economic development.
Most of the money from the four-year program will target structural improvements.
Dayton is a small river town fewer than 3 miles from downtown Cincinnati with a population of just more than 5,000. The town has a commercial property vacancy rate of 40 percent, or around 16 properties of its total 45 commercial properties.
With the program’s approval, $225,000 of the city’s economic development funds now are earmarked to incentivize landowners to create viable properties by fixing issues historic buildings often have, such as clay piping or corroded metal piping.
“We want to spark some life into the property market in this community,” Cadle said.
The program will reimburse applicants 20 percent of the cost of projects that improve the structures of their properties up to $20,000.
The second most significant portion of the program’s funds, or $138,600, will go toward providing entrepreneurs assistance in starting or expanding their businesses. Dayton will match business owners up to 50 percent of their rental costs the first two years – up to $5,000 per year – and in the third year, provide reimbursement at 100 percent up to $10,000 per year.
A third component of the program, business occupancy, will award $75,000 total to businesses looking to purchase commercial property. The grant offers a 10 percent reimbursement.
Finally, $31,500 of the program’s funds will go toward helping businesses establish uniform signage. This grant will help both new and existing businesses improve or purchase signs that identify themselves while still maintaining the Main Street feel and meeting Dayton’s code. Approved businesses can receive up to $1,500 in reimbursement.
Katelyn Banks, owner of Anderson Township-based Kate’s Catering and Personal Chef Services, plans to apply for a signage grant so she can erect a sign outside her newly purchased commercial kitchen space in Dayton.
“I fell in love with Dayton for many, many reasons,” she said. “I fell in love with it for its historical attributes, what the city does to help businesses moving in, and its central location.”
Cadle said the city will accept applications for the program through 2017, or whenever funds are exhausted.
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