The North Royalton City Council unanimously approved the renewal of the City’s Storefront Renovation Rebate Program at their latest meeting. The program is designed to assist some business owners in the City with the improvement of the facades of their storefronts or assist in correcting exterior code violations.
The legislation states that “improvements to and redevelopment of the City of North Royalton’s stock of industrial, office, retail and commercial buildings is integral to the continued economic health of the City of North Royalton, Ohio, and its citizens; and the use of governmental resources for the promotion of jobs and employment opportunities, and the development of sites and facilities and for economic development in the community is in the public interest and is a proper exercise of municipal powers.”
The City has set aside $50,000 as part of the original budget for this year’s program. This is budgeted for out of the City’s General Fund, through the Economic Development Department.” Mayor Larry Antoskiewicz and Council President Paul Marnecheck initially introduced legislation to start a storefront renovation rebate program for local businesses. Several years ago, a Storefront Renovation Rebate Program was administered through Cuyahoga County Department of Development and funded through the Federal Community Development Block Grant Program. There were some North Royalton businesses that applied for and received funding for various projects, but the program through the county ceased. The North Royalton program was then designed by Community Development Coordinator, Tom Jordan, who is responsible for the administration of the program.
With the program, the City provides a 50% rebate for exterior renovations of commercial buildings within the City. The applicant can be any business owner or property owner. There will be a limit of $10,000 rebate per building. The projects that would be eligible are facade improvements, signs, awnings, window, doors, painting, cleaning, lighting, ADA-compliant access, exterior code violations and some landscaping. Projects that would not be eligible include interior improvements and elements that could not be seen in the front area of the building. In the originally proposed legislation, some parking lots were included in that listing, but Council amended the program removing them from the original list of eligible projects. Ineligible buildings include schools, residential buildings, strip mall/plazas and franchises.
According to Jordan, there were a number of recipients of the program last year. “As of December 31, 2022, we have approved $64,706 in Storefront Program funding. We currently have $50,000 available for 2023 Storefront projects.” He did indicate that there is currently one application submitted for the 2023 program. Last year, rebates ranging from about $1,600 to $10,000 were distributed. Projects included landscaping, fencing repairs, signage, awning, exterior painting and other types of exterior improvements
Eligible North Royalton businesses must complete an application, which will then have to be pre-approved by the city. The proposed program listing does not state a time frame, nor does it state when payment for the rebate would be made, or what criteria is necessary to receive the rebate. There was some discussion regarding the criteria listed in the proposed legislation regarding the eligible projects. These items may change when and if the legislation is adopted. Jordan stated that the applicants would receive reimbursement after showing items, such as cash receipts, for the aspects of the project.
Applications are now being accepted, with the Application and Final Report Instructions available at www.northroyalton.org under the Economic Development link. Applications must be submitted in the electronic format. For more information, businesses may contact Tom Jordan at 440-237-5484 or email email@example.com.
By GLORIA PLEVA KACIK