RDA will help fund facade grants for BID

District exhausts 2018 grant budget

Downtown business owners appear eager to improve the look of their buildings with the help of facade grants offered by the Business Improvement District.

So much so that the $20,000 budgeted by the BID Board for grants each year has already maxed out, prompting a request to the Shawano Redevelopment Authority for assistance.

“They’re requesting additional funding so they continue to work with the downtown businesses so they can continue doing improvements to their facades,” Assistant City Administrator Eddie Sheppard said at a Shawano Plan Commission meeting last week.

“The RDA has been kind of obviously sidetracked with some of the larger projects and is happy to kind of not play in that space,” he said. “It’s one less thing for (the RDA) to worry about.”

The RDA is a semi-independent seven-member panel, with members appointed by the mayor, established to address areas of blight within the city and work with property owners to make improvements.

The commission approved the RDA’s recommendation that the RDA provide the BID with $20,000 to fund additional facade improvement requests as they come in for the rest of the year.

The money could be carried over into 2019 to supplement the BID’s facade improvement grant budget in 2019 if needed, but any unused money will go back to the RDA.

The BID Board limits grants to a maximum $5,000 per project, a dollar-for-dollar match with the money put up by property owners.

The money will come from the city’s Tax Incremental Finance District 4, which covers downtown Shawano and was set up as a blight elimination district.

TIF districts are areas where municipalities invest in infrastructure, such as sewer and water, to attract development where it might not otherwise occur, or to make improvements, such as eliminating blight.

Whatever increase in tax revenue that results from development in those districts goes to paying back the debt the municipality incurred from making improvements to the district.