CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The Charleston Urban Renewal Authority might increase the cap on a program that helps pay for storefront improvements for East End businesses.
East End Main Street Executive Director Ric Cavender asked members of the authority's board of directors to consider increasing the $5,000 cap to $20,000 at a meeting Wednesday.
Cavender told board members the program has been successful for smaller businesses but that it does little to help the owners of larger buildings.
"That's mostly what we have to renovate in our district -- the larger buildings," Cavender said. "We're at a place where these marquee properties are still sitting there."
The grant program offers a 50-50 match. For a project costing $4,000, the program would pay for $2,000.
The authority provides $20,000 each year for the grants, but Executive Director Jim Edwards said it could afford to spend up to $400,000 annually.
Cavender suggested including a provision requiring grant recipients to present their plans to the authority before receiving final approval, among other procedural changes. Board members didn't see a reason for that idea.
"Why would you want to add CURA as another tier?" said assistant secretary and treasurer Karen Haddad. "I don't need to micro-manage your process."
Other board members, like Charles Webb, suggested expanding the program to include downtown businesses and also raise caps on the West Side.
"We want (facade grant programs) to be uniform in all respects," he said.
West Side Main Street operates a similar program as the East End.
A decision on whether to increase the cap was tabled for a future meeting.
Contact writer Matt Murphy at Matt.Mur...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4817.