Businesses in downtown Chehalis have the opportunity to spruce up the exterior of their business through a facade grant from the Chehalis Community Renaissance Team (CCRT) which has now expanded from Main Street to include businesses on State Avenue and Market Street as potential grant recipients.
The CCRT awarded 11 facade grants in 2019 to businesses in downtown Chehalis in an effort to assist businesses in the upkeep and design of the storefront of their business by providing up to $2,500 for paint, windows, signage, and/or awnings. The grant program was established in 2018 and awarded seven grants in its first year. The facade grants are not one and done, but allow businesses to apply for the grant every 18 months.
The CCRT is a non profit organization, established in May of 2009, that works closely with the city to improve the community in various different ways. The facade grants are mostly funded through the Main Street Program, a state program that collects donations from local businesses that receive a tax break in return.
Annalee Tobey, executive director of CCRT, said the application process is very easy and many businesses have taken advantage of the grant since it was made available about two years ago. A few of the businesses that have taken advantage of the grant include: Chehalis Eye Care Center, M & K Town Store, Furniture World, PrimeLending, and Market Street Pub.
“We really want everyone to know about it. We have tried to make it as easy as possible for businesses to apply,” said Tobey.
The application and the map that depicts the qualifying areas is available on the CCRT website: experiencechehalis.com
To qualify, the business must have a physical location within the downtown area. The streets that are included are Main Street and Market Street, and most recently added this past summer, State Avenue. Tobey said that she has seen business use the $2,500 as a starting point and combine it with their own funds to make major improvements.
The program also has a micro grant option that is up to $250 that can be used by business that, for example, don’t have a storefront, like the businesses in the Marketplace Square building but would like a sandwich board, landscaping, or window displays.
“I always like to say to the businesses ‘don’t put up a sign without letting us help you pay for it’ because that is what we’re here for,” said Tobey.
Looking toward the future, the CCRT is working toward the creation of a safety and security grant. Which aims to help fund security systems and lighting.
“We want to raise up this community and it’s just as simple as that. We want to help the businesses here, we want to bring folks into our downtown. There’s a really nice comradery going on downtown,” said Tobey.