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Downtown association reviewing grant applications

Funding for improvement of building facades in downtown Selma is available for the second year in a row, according to Shebra Kidd, executive director of the Downtown Selma Association.

The Dallas County Commission allocated $5,000 for the program in its recently approved budget. While the association, supported by membership fees paid by downtown merchants and a certified local grant from the Alabama Historical Commission, had asked the County Commission for $15,000 for its &uot;Paint and Maintenance Program&uot; in each of the last two years, county financial constraints limited the appropriation to $5,000.

Kidd said that the association is very grateful for the continuation of funding in the new year.

The first &045; and only &045; grant given through the program thus far went to On Time Fashions last fall at the end of the fiscal year. The grant was for $4,500, exceeding the normal limit of $3,500, but was given because of the importance of the building’s faade and the owners’ restoration efforts following a very serious fire in September 2002. Today the building stands as an example of the degree to which a historic and beautiful faade can be restored to pristine condition.

The purpose of the Paint and Maintenance program, according to Kidd, is to provide public support for owners toward the end of gradually improving the physical appearance of downtown Selma, which is of value to the whole community.

Kidd said that this year she already has two proposals in hand and expects others. The association meets quarterly and its next meeting will be in February. At that time requests will be considered, she said.

Eligibility requirements to receive grants include: proof of ownership and location in Downtown Selma Association district &045; the commercial downtown area. Priority is given for age and historical rating of the property.

The program requires a two-for-one match by the owner. Money is made available through the association’s program for faade improvements only, and the total amount of the grant may not exceed one-third of the total cost of the improvements.

Also, renovation plans must be approved in advance by the Selma Historic Development Commission, by a representative of the Alabama Historical Commission and the City of Selma Main Street director, and be in accordance with the state secretary of interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.

For further information call Shebra Kidd at 874-2169.