This entry comes from Mark Hartney and I. It discussed our Facade Program, which is one of my favorite aspects of the Main Street program. Details are below.
Downtowns were once a vibrant center of activity for the boroughs and a source of civic pride, thanks in no small part to the outstanding state of the properties. Sadly, in many places, that time has come and gone.
However, thanks to new interest in our downtowns, Main Streets are beginning to come back. Recently the BBRP, a public/private partnership between the GLVCC, GLVCC Foundation and Lehigh and Northampton Counties, rolled out a façade improvement program. The matching grant reimbursement program is sponsored from a variety of public and private sources. The program has been well received with interest from 57 properties, and preliminary project estimates ranging from $470,000 - $593,000. The current levels of interest far exceed the amount of available grant funds.
We would like to thank the Pennsylvania Department of Economic Development, as well as Lehigh and Northampton Counties for their leadership and investment in this initiative. In addition, we also want to thank Sovereign Bank, Merchants National Bank, and East Penn Bank for their participation and support of the façade program. As you can see from the overwhelming response, the Façade Program is providing an incentive for businesses to invest in their properties and downtown. The Lehigh Valley is only as strong as its downtowns, and with the success of programs like these, we are confident that downtown’s revival is underway.