City receives $50,000 for facade improvements

Several Westminster businesses may soon get funding to aid in facade improvements after the city received a state grant last week.

Westminster received a $50,000 grant from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development for its Facade Improvement Program.

The city had requested $150,000 through the department's Community Legacy program and learned Nov. 27 of the $50,000 award.

Approximately 15 businesses have requested funding through the project, according to City Administrator Marge Wolf, though no determination has been made on how the money will be distributed, Wolf said.

The city will not officially receive the money until March, when a grant agreement is signed and approved, according to Wolf.

"We'll do our best to fund as many as we can depending upon where they are in the project," Wolf said.

The city has received money through the program in the past including each of the last five years, Wolf said.

Birdie's Cafe on Main Street is one of the local businesses that has benefited from the facade improvement program.

"It enabled me to improve the Main Street facade of my building, which has in turn brought more customers into my business and made my business a lot more noticeable to the general public driving by," said owner Sherri Hosfeld Joseph.

In June, through half of the funding from the city, Joseph was able to restore and repaint the building, giving the cafe a vibrant new look, she said.

"I think it's a wonderful thing that the city of Westminster is able to do to help business owners drive more people into their businesses and beautify Main Street," Joseph said. "Which I think will in turn stimulate the economy of Main Street Westminster."

The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development awarded $5.5 million in Community Legacy program awards to 38 municipalities and organizations throughout the state.

"Community Legacy is an innovative program that invests in cities and towns throughout our state. These awards help create jobs, move local economic development efforts forward and allow neighborhoods to thrive. As these communities prosper, Maryland as a whole does too," said the Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Raymond A. Skinner, in a news release.

A complete list of the awards and projects can be found at http://www.mdhousing.org.

"These awards will go a long way to promoting economic growth, community revitalization, affordable housing and tourism," said Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, in a news release. "I salute the hard work of the recipients of this year's awards, and their commitment to their communities, which will greatly benefit cities and towns all over our state."

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