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Brownstown To Apply For Grants To Improve Facades, Streetscapes
Updated January 3, 2018 7:39 AM
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(BROWNSTOWN) - Brownstown officials are brainstorming ideas for potential projects that would be competitive in applying for a grant.

The Seymour Tribune reports, one is buying two vacant lots adjacent to Heritage Park along East Walnut Street and constructing a building to house the town hall and a community center and include restroom facilities to use for events at the park.

The other is partnering with downtown business and building owners and banks to make improvements to buildings.

Both grant opportunities are through the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, and the projects would cost around $1 million apiece.

The town hall/community center/restrooms project would be through a Public Facilities Grant ($500,000), and the fa├žade and streetscape improvements would be through the Main Street Revitalization Program ($600,000).

Information about the grants will be shared at the Brownstown/Ewing Main Street annual meeting at 6 p.m. Jan. 9.

The town purchased the 0.45-acre lot at 121 E. Walnut St. in 2014 for $45,000. A $155,000 federal grant helped pay for that purchase and the $64,562 cost to demolish the two feed mill buildings and a silo.

Heritage Park was established, and the town received a $50,000 Place Based Investment Grant, a $5,000 Community Impact Grant from the Community Foundation of Jackson County and more than $20,000 in donations to build a pavilion.

The goal was to construct a building for restrooms and a storage area, so that may be accomplished if the town is able to purchase the two vacant lots next to Heritage Park and receive the Public Facilities Grant.

The town will need to have the two lots appraised and do an appraisal review, and then it could make an offer to the property owner.

If that's acceptable and Brownstown is successful in landing the grant, some of the grant funds would be used to acquire the property. Then the town would hire an architect to come up with design plans for the building and have an environmental assessment completed.

At that point, the grant application process would begin. Proposals are due in May, the full application has to be in by July 20 and grants would be awarded in September.

The new building would allow the town hall to move from 200 W. Walnut St., which the police and fire departments could use.

The rest of the new building would have restrooms and the community center, which could be used for events and meetings. Lawson said the senior citizens center could move from its current building at 124 S. Main St., which the town owns, to the community center.

The town then could apply for another grant to tear down a building on the north side of the property to make way for a parking lot.

After information is rolled out at the Jan. 9 meeting, McLeod said she would meet with downtown business and building owners in March to explain the program to them. The owners could help with the local match. Then a bank investor group could be organized, which involves local lending agencies or developmental groups putting together a consortium of their funds.

If all of that comes together, an architect would meet with the business and building owners to see what could be done to their buildings and estimate the cost, and the owners would apply to the investor group.

Once the businesses and buildings are selected, the town would obtain a permanent easement to be able to make improvements.

The town would apply for the grant in 2019. If it's awarded funding, improvements would start in 2020.

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