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Havre de Grace receives two state grants for downtown revitalization

The City of Havre de Grace has been announced as a 2012 Maryland Community Legacy Program grant recipient.

Havre de Grace was awarded the full requested amount of Community Legacy grant funding for two programs benefiting its downtown revitalization effort, Meghan Simmons, Havre de Grace's economic development manager, said.

The Façade Improvement Program will receive $25,000 and the Interior Fit-Out Program for Main Street building owners and tenants will receive $35,000, according to the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, which administers the program.

The grants were announced Wednesday morning at a ceremony in Baltimore attended by local and state officials. According to Simmons, this is the 10th year Havre de Grace has been a recipient of Community Legacy funding.

In a news release, Simmons said the city and Havre de Grace Main Street Inc. "have successfully administered the Façade Improvement Program for six years."

"In this short amount of time, the program has shown exceptional results," the release continued. "To date, $208,000 of Community Legacy funding has been used to complete 16 projects. These projects have leveraged $800,000 in private investment, assisted in the creation of 53 permanent and 57 temporary employment positions, increased property values and improved the character of the Main Street District."

The new funding award will be used to make exterior improvements to additional commercial buildings within the Main Street District, the release added.

The Interior Fit-Out Program grant is a pilot program that will be administered through Havre de Grace Main Street.

According to the news release, the program will offer businesses and property owners of historic downtown buildings small grants to invest in interior upgrades to their buildings.

Many of the aging buildings within the Main Street District are costly to maintain and have resulted in first floor spaces that have become nonfunctional and are in need of very basic upgrades in order to be occupied by a tenant, the city news release states.

Under the Interior Fit-Out Program, priority will be given to commercial properties which are currently vacant and where grant funding can be used to improve commercial spaces to attract new businesses, according to the news release.

"The Interior Fit-Out Program will lead to new business openings and a decrease in vacant commercial buildings in the Main Street district, which is one of the most tangible signs of revitalization," the release adds.

Elsewhere in Harford County, the Town of Bel Air received a $175,000 Community Legacy Grant to be used for the installation of infrastructure in the 1950s era cinder block garages at the rear of the Bel Air Reckord Armory on Main Street.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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