Macomb pushes facade grant program for downtown buildings - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Macomb pushes facade grant program for downtown buildings

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McDonough County Courthouse in downtown Macomb McDonough County Courthouse in downtown Macomb
Buildings on the square in Macomb Buildings on the square in Macomb
The Masonic Lodge building The Masonic Lodge building
The windows that have been replace in the Masonic Lodge building The windows that have been replace in the Masonic Lodge building
Businesses along the square Businesses along the square
MACOMB, Ill. (WGEM) -

City leaders in Macomb are making a renewed effort to save the downtown with a goal of attracting more shoppers to the area.

The first thing you see when you go shopping is usually the outside of the business. City leaders in Macomb know that, and that's why they're helping area businesses improve their look.

Tiara Patterson just moved to Macomb two months ago. She's still getting familiar with downtown Macomb with her three boys.

"It's a lot of different varieties of stores," Patterson said. "I haven't really been to all of them, but as I'm learning them, I'm coming to them. I'm visiting a new barber shop they have on the square."

The city hopes to attract more shoppers like Patterson with the facade grant program. Mayor Mike Inman said the city council just approved around $18,000 for the Masonic Lodge, which houses 14 business on the square.

"Part of the facade, under our ordinance, includes any of the buildings sides that are exposed to the public right of way," Inman said.

Inman said he hopes it generates more interest in downtown from both shoppers and business owners.

"With the entire historic theme of the downtown and the improvements we've already made through the initial phase of the revitalization, it's just an ongoing tool in our tool box to promote and strive to improve the downtown as a thriving business district," Inman added.

This is the second time the lodge has used the grant. Building owner Richard Hainline said they've replaced most of the windows and plan to finish the east side of the building in the spring. He says they are making a big difference.

"It's really helping us on the heating bill," Hainline said. "I can tell a difference there. I think it improves the looks of the building too. We're very happy with it."

The city said they set aside $50,000 every year for the grant program in hopes that multiple businesses use it to upgrade their facade.

"Buildings are older buildings obviously," Inman said. "They are historic in nature and just by that alone, they are more costly to maintain and rehabilitate. The program is designed to offset those costs."

Hainline said despite the push to revitalize downtown, this is the first time he's had two vacancies at the same time. Now he hopes investing in the building will turn things around.

"Times are a little bit slow right now," Hainline added. "It's just kinda of a race to keep everything going all the time."

The money has been used to fix 12 buildings downtown over the past decade. Inman said building owners can apply through the office of community development at city hall.

Here's more information about the program:

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