DDA starts second grant program

SOL BLU LOUNGE at 200 E. Ludington St. recently made several exterior improvements with the help of funding from the Downtown Assistance Program, a new grant established by the Iron Mountain Downtown Development Authority.

IRON MOUNTAIN — The Iron Mountain Downtown Development Authority has established a second grant, the Downtown Assistance Program, for businesses in the district.

The new grant aims to maintain and enhance downtown Iron Mountain properties and businesses and promote further growth and development within the city’s commercial core.

The Downtown Assistance Program will provide financial incentive and assistance to property owners looking to complete construction or obtain professional help to promote and enhance their businesses.

The program will fund up to 50 percent of proposed activity, or $5,000 per project, whichever is less. The total allocation for this program is $10,000 a year.

Examples of qualifying projects include, but are not limited to: branding and graphic design, marketing services, architectural design and engineering, tenant improvement design and construction, development and restoration feasibility studies, limited-scope exterior building improvements, deferred maintenance projects, American with Disabilities Act compliance projects, environmental abatement and clean-up or exterior signage.

The DDA Board on Sept. 11 awarded Sol Blu Lounge owner Lee Formolo $3,788.74 for proposed work on the building at 200 E. Ludington St.

“I am overjoyed that the DDA is in a place where we can invest in projects and improvements being made in our Downtown District. Sol Blu Lounge is in the heart of our Downtown District and it is encouraging to see the Formolos invest in their very historic building,” said Paula Craven, DDA program director.

“This new grant, the Assistance Program Grant, is made possible because of the fundraisers we put time and energy into this summer –Brew Fest, Italian Fest and Oktoberfest,” Craven said. “The funds raised from these events go towards improvements in our downtown and this grant is a direct result of the success of the 2017 events. Thank you to everyone who participated in these events, you are significantly investing in a vibrant downtown community.”

The project and work at 200 E. Ludington St. building included restoring the entrance walkways with new concrete and a colored polymer, replacing a large window, and painting the front facade.

“My goal is to not only revitalize the look of our downtown, but to also preserve the great historical relevance of the Woods Sandstone building,” Formolo said.

The new program joins the Facade Improvement Grant, also for downtown businesses. Both grants are available on the downtown website, www.downtownironmountain.com, along with details and guidelines for each.

The mission of the Downtown Development Authority is to create a vibrant urban downtown district in Iron Mountain by promoting economic growth and preventing or correcting deterioration.