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Finksburg area could see revitalization through facade improvement grant

Finksburg residents and those passing through the community may soon notice some improvements to storefronts along the Route 140 corridor.

At Thursday’s county commissioners meeting, the board approved a request from the department of planning to apply for a fiscal 2022 grant from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development to help revitalize the Finksburg area.

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“We are so proud of all the work we are doing in that community,” said Lynda Eisenberg, director of the department of planning. “This is a continuation of sustainable community effort.”

Clare Stewart, a comprehensive planner for the county, said the grant would partially fund the Finksburg Facade Improvement Program, which the department recently created. The total program budget totals $103,839.31 with a state grant request of $50,000 and a participant match of $50,000. A county in-kind match covers the $3,839.31 for the staff time it will take to administer the program.

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“This program is to encourage facade and sign improvements and renovations along the 140 corridor, one of our gateways into the county,” Stewart told commissioners. “There is a 50/50 match up to $10,000″ for any project, she said, meaning a property or business owner interested in improving their store front in the designated area can get reimbursed for half of the total cost.

Applications can be accepted for up to two years or before funds run out and would be available only to commercial and industrial zoned properties.

“I believe about 50 properties are eligible,” she said.

Finksburg Plaza and the busy Route 140 corridor offer several shops and services.
Finksburg Plaza and the busy Route 140 corridor offer several shops and services. (Sun photo by Lloyd Fox)

The department has partnered with the Finksburg Planning and Citizens’ Council throughout the entire process, from creating the facade improvement program to sending out surveys asking for the community’s opinion on the initiative.

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Dennis Raver, an at-large member of the council, said “as a board member, a business owner and a resident of Finksburg,” he personally is “very excited about this program.”

“We truly feel this will be contagious … We’ve all seen what the Finksburg corridor looks like at 140 and I think no one wants anymore abandoned buildings or used car lots,” Raver said. “This is the first step in the revitalization of the 140 corridor.”

Commissioner Richard Weaver, R-District 2, noted the Finksburg Planning and Citizens’ Council has been worried about downtown Finksburg.

“They’ve been doing a great job putting this together,” he said.

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