GREENFIELD — Restored storefronts, historic windows and new awnings could make downtown Greenfield mirror its historic past if the city is tapped for a half a million-dollar grant.
The Main Street Revitalization Program, funded by federal dollars, encourages communities to focus on long-term community development projects within historic downtown districts. This year, $1.5 million of grant dollars are up for grabs.
This fall, city officials plan to apply for one of three $500,000 grants available through the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs to spruce up downtown buildings, provided the city council and participating building owners agree to pony up a sizeable match.
The city would contribute $125,000 from its economic development fund should Greenfield be among the communities selected. Building owners also would need to contribute 25 percent of the funding for their projects.
Monday evening, the city had a public hearing to give residents and building owners a chance to weigh in on the proposal that seeks to renovate the facades of 16 downtown buildings.
Originally, the city’s plan including putting some of the grant dollars toward building the Riley Literary Trail, but there was so much interest from building owners, city officials decided to narrow the scope of their grant application to building façades, said city planner Joanie Fitzwater.
Applying for the grant gives Greenfield an opportunity to delve deeper into its downtown revitalization plan — which was drafted in 2013 as a blueprint for sprucing up the area near State and Main streets — Fitzwater said.
Renovating building façades to make them look more like they did in the past is a natural progression of the revitalization plan, she said.
“Downtown Greenfield is so important to our heritage … and to our hearts,” she said.
The 16 buildings targeted for the project include several on Main, State and North streets as well as a few on American Legion Place and Courthouse Plaza.
The Greenfield Area Chamber of Commerce building, 1 Courthouse Plaza, is one of the buildings being considered for the grant.
Retta Livengood, director of the chamber, said parts of the building were built in 1895, and the chamber’s board of directors and staff want to preserve its historic nature and take care of the building that houses their office.
“That’s our home,” Livengood said. “We just want to protect it.”
Should Greenfield receive the grant, building renovations would vary from facility to facility but could include new windows, restored storefronts, new awnings and fresh paint.
The application is due this October, and the city should learn in December whether it will receive the funding, said Mike Kleinpeter, a consultant helping city officials craft their grant application.
There are many positive factors working in the city’s favor of being picked for the money, he said.
The Office of Community and Rural Affairs wants to see cities it awards funding to growing in population like Greenfield. He knows of only two other communities applying for the funding.
Plus, with so much interest in Greenfield’s project among business owners, the grant dollars would go far, he said.
“They’re getting a lot of bang for their money,” he said.
The city of Greenfield is applying for $500,000 of grant money to spend on restoring historic building fronts in downtown Greenfield.
Buildings being considered for the project are:
2 E. Main St.
3 American Legion Place
6 E. Main St.
8 W. Main St.
1 Courthouse Plaza
19 W. Main St.
20 N. State St.
21 W. North St.
22-32 S. State St.
23 W. North St.
113-117 W. Main St.
123 N. State St.
206-210 Main St.
221 W. Main St.
23 N. East St.
100 W. North St.