Harrisburg introduces grant to help improve local businesses

Friday, April 29, 2011

Harrisburg is introducing an Economic Development Renovation Grant, which is a 50 percent matching grant to assist businesses in the city with costs associated with renovating their commercial property.

A total of $10,000 has been set aside in an Economic Development Account to help out local businesses that wish to improve the exterior of their businesses.

The Harrisburg Economic Development Commission (HEDC) will match half of a business tenant or a building owners investment with a maximum grant amount from the HEDC of $2,500. All buildings eligible for the grant much by currently occupied by an active business or by an active business within 30 days of the completion of the project.

Only exterior renovation projects can qualify for this grant. Projects that qualify include: removal of deterioration; exterior cleaning; re-painting; repair/replacement of exterior doors or windows; installation of canvas awnings; installation of permanent signs; landscaping; sidewalks; paving parking areas; replacing old pavement or concrete with green spaces. Other exterior projects can be approved on a case-by-case basis. No interior renovation costs can be applied toward the applicant's matching expenditures.

According to the grant guidelines, all projects must be approved by the HEDC before construction begins based on the most complete information available. Approvals must include all paint and awning colors. Any changes during construction must be approved.

The grant cannot go toward in-house labor or already owned materials, but it will cover paid labor, materials and supplies bought or rented equipment specific for the project of exterior renovation. All applicants must provide the HEDC with a detailed description of the work to be done and price estimates for the work, before any work actually begins.

Also the grant guidelines state the grant amount will be paid to the applicant only when the work is complete and has been inspected by the HEDC. All projects must be started within three months of the approval of the application or grant funds will be put back into the grant pool. A one-time extension of 30 days can be requested based on unusual circumstances.

The grant outlines that applicants can only receive one grant per calendar year and applicants that have not previously received grants will be given preference over applicants that have already received grants.

The Economic Development Grant will be awarded in a first come, first serve basis, until all the allocated money for the year has been used. There will be $10,000 available for the 2011 calendar year for the grant and applications for the funds will be accepted beginning May 15.

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