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Applications for facade rehab program being accepted

STEUBENVILLE — The city is now taking applications for its historic facade rehabilitation program.

The program will provide up to $35,000 for a new roof or facade for commercial properties in the core central business district, which extends from Washington to Adams and from Third to Fifth streets.

Due to program constraints, the city only has enough money to do one property this year. If they get more than one application, Urban Projects Director Chris Petrossi said they’ll incorporate a request for funds for the additional properties in the next Community Development Block Grant round.

“Any applications we don’t get to (this time) we’ll do at a later date,” Petrossi said.

CDBG grant applications are “based on whether you believe funding is needed,” he said. “With programs like this that are application responsive, you need to be fairly certain that you have the applicants out there before you” submit the CDBG application, he said.

Petrossi said this time around, the planning commission also is insisting properties receiving historic facade rehabilitation grants must either be occupied or have a pending lease. That’s to ensure the properties aren’t left empty, he said.

Grants are treated as a deferred payment loan. Petrossi said the city puts a mortgage on the property for the amount of assistance that is granted, then forgives one-fifth of the total every year for five years.

“The owner has to maintain the improvements over that five-year period,” Petrossi said. “At the end of five years it’s all forgiven, it goes down to zero, as long as the owner maintains the improvement.”

Any costs in excess of $35,000 are the owner’s responsibility, he added.

While it’s been a few years since they had any interest, Petrossi said he’s already been approached by a couple property owners who said they will be submitting applications.

Deadline to apply for an HFRG is Jan. 30. For questions or an application, call the planning office at (740) 283-6000, ext. 1700.

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