Standish DDA opens up grant cycle
STANDISH — Up to $50,000 through the City of Standish’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is available for downtown businesses looking to spruce up their appearances.
“We can give up to $5,000 dollars to various applicants. … It can be used for various projects,” said DDA Chairman Curt Hillman. “The biggest thing the DDA is looking for is aesthetics. … Making our town look better for people coming into town.”
He says DDA grants have been used to pave parking lots (Tacey’s Twisty Freeze), side buildings (Standish Laundrymat), paint exteriors, roof buildings and do other projects to improve the appearances of businesses.
“Then we’ve also gotten into some interior work as well,” Hillman added. “The DDA’s also helped some things going on at the (Standish Historical Depot and Welcome Center) depot.
“It doesn’t necessarily all have to go to businesses.”
According to Hillman, funding for the DDA is included in the taxes businesses in the city pay to Standish.
“All this money comes out of the commercial district,” he said. Hillman added the collection of DDA funds comes out of the Tax Increment Finance Authority portion of a business’s property taxes and that paying into the DDA doesn’t increase property taxes. “They would pay the same whether the DDA was here or not.”
Hillman says eligible businesses for the grant monies include all businesses in the designated downtown district, which he defined as Cedar Street east to Grove Road and west to Front Street; and US-23 to the Northern and Southern boundaries of the city.
Eligible businesses, according to Hillman, must be thorough when applying for the grants, since bids from contractors regarding the requested improvements must be submitted to the DDA.
“If they’ve got something they want to do they should get bids for that,” he said. “We want good, good numbers. … We will not pay for additional costs if they don’t get good numbers.
"We want to know they're serious."
Also, Hillman says the grant monies are actually distributed after the project is complete.
“They must pay for it all in advance and then we’ll reimburse them,” he said.
Grant requests must be submitted by May 15 and soon after the DDA will decide on which businesses will get the funds.
“We’ll make our decision in June,” Hillman said. “Certainly by the first of July we’ll tell people if they’ve got something coming.”
For more information about the Standish DDA and the availability of building improvement grants, contact Standish City Hall at 989-846-9588.