The LaFayette Downtown Development Authority (LDDA) is looking for downtown property owners who are ready to take part in the new facade grant program to help assist, update and enhance the downtown area.
Applications are now available for commercial property owners that are located in the LDDA district to begin the process of updating their facades with solid short-term and long-term opportunities to transform downtown.
The current facade grant budget is $20,000.
The LDDA facade grant program is designed to enhance the physical appearance of downtown businesses, located in their jurisdiction, by providing financial assistance for exterior building improvements to support the revitalization of up to 10 local property owners’ storefronts with this round of grant-making.
An applicant’s total project cost must exceed $2,000 to be eligible. This program provides up to 50% in reimbursements for eligible costs, which will be outlined in the application, not to exceed $2,000 per storefront.
For example, this would allow for the possibility of placing new doors, windows, awnings, signage, and fresh paint on an eligible local property in the LaFayette Downtown Development Authority jurisdiction. You can find a map of our LDDA district on the city of LaFayette website or the LDDA Facebook page.
The facade grant program will be a component of the current short-term plan to bring immediate improvement to the aesthetics of downtown while continuing to work toward the future for major long-term impact.
UGA is using photographs of existing downtown structures to frame a “compare and contrast” of the existing structures with digitally rendered artwork that gives the property owner a look at “What could be” with enhancing the outside of the building with the facade grant funding.
New vision on the horizon
The University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government manages the Renaissance Strategic Visioning and Planning Process (RSVP) and works in partnership with the local LaFayette RSVP Steering Committee. Together, they are making great strides in building a vibrant plan using the city and citizens’ vision to transform the downtown into a more updated, beautiful, and energized area that our community can enjoy for years to come while respecting the city of LaFayette’s historical structures and quaint hometown feel.
As the city is still in the early phase of the planning process, more than 1,200 surveys were collected in March and 250 focus group participants took part in giving feedback to UGA to begin to inform the new downtown plan. A focus group concentrated on the next generation of leaders was also held with the Lafayette Junior City Council created with students from LaFayette High School.
The community survey says …
The data gathered from the survey details what the community said they wanted to see in the city and illuminated some of the existing problem areas needing to be addressed.
Public input included strong desires for “something to do” in the city, improving connectivity, as well as updating the Mars Theatre District, and connecting Joe Stock Memorial Park and Ross Abney Complex with the rest of downtown.
Public input included the need for more restaurants with outdoor seating, more retail being available and open longer hours, and filling up the vacant buildings with new businesses in the downtown area.
Citizens view the lack of outdoor dining as one of the most missing elements in downtown LaFayette. They also expressed interest in a cleaner, more modern feel, and wanted to see more progress on the lot where the building collapsed.
The positive feedback of the downtown repeated in the survey included: a strong sense of “community,” the appeal of the “hometown” feel, the opportunity for “potential,” a sense of “progress” occurring, and that it feels like our community is “friendly” and “welcoming”.
Time to apply
This is an amazing opportunity to begin to beautify our LaFayette as we make strides to design a more dynamic downtown for new business growth, sustaining existing businesses, attracting more visitors and residents, and connecting our community as a whole.
This downtown revitalization plan is a very exciting opportunity for the city of LaFayette and its citizens, as previous communities have seen substantial revitalization and improvements in their downtowns following this rigorous UGA planning process. We would like to thank the University of Georgia, the Lyndhurst Foundation, Georgia Municipal Association, and the Georgia Cities Foundation for fully funding this project with no local tax dollars required.