Thursday, June 12, 2008

Facade Program Press Conference

From Left to Right: Jim Coppock & Bonnie Upton (owners), Northampton County Executive John Stoffa, Virginia Savage (Manager of Main Street Initiatives, Lehigh County), Hellertown Mayor Richard Fluck, John Conklin (Director of Administration, Northampton County), Tony Iannelli, Mike Schlossberg (Borough Business Revitalization Coordinator, GLVCC).

Executive Stoffa touts Main Street Façade Program
Façade Program shows State, County, Chamber and Foundation commitment to urban reinvestment

Hellertown, PA – Northampton County Executive John Stoffa today announced the success of the Façade Program. This urban revitalization effort, administered by the Borough Business Revitalization Program, was touted by the Executive as an overwhelming success.

The Façade Program is a 1-1 matching grant program (up to $5,000) whereby property and business owners can apply to make exterior improvements to their property. The program is eligible to properties within the downtown districts of participating communities. According to the County Executive, physical improvement is a critical step in the effort to rehabilitate urban areas. “Urban revitalization is key to the continued growth and success of Northampton County,” noted Stoffa. “Northampton County remains committed to that investment. In addition to the $20,000 we allocated to the 2007 Façade Program, Northampton County has provided for over $85,000 in grants towards urban beautification and planning efforts.”

Tony Iannelli, President & CEO of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, discussed his organization’s commitment to urban revitalization. “Over the next few months, the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce Foundation will raise $4-5 million that will be reinvested in the cities and boroughs of the Lehigh Valley. We have hired staff to run this project and have already allocated over $40,000 in grant funding through the Foundation. Further, the Chamber will donate over $500,000 to the Foundation over the next five years. We are putting our money where our mouth is.”

According to Mike Schlossberg, one of the two Borough Business Revitalization Coordinators,
36 properties across the nine BBRP communities were allocated Façade Grants. These grants totaled $133,046.71. For every dollar of public money placed into the program, another six dollars of private money were invested. In addition, W2A, an architectural firm in Easton was engaged for $35,0000 to assist properties in determining the most attractive and historically appropriate methods to improve their properties. “The urban core of the Lehigh Valley can only be revitalized if the private and public sector combine their resources and their efforts. That reality is achieved through the Borough Business Revitalization Program. The Façade Program is another success story of that partnership.”

Bonnie Upton and Jim Coppock, owners of the building that houses Dudz in Sudz Laundromat and the Hellertown Deli, were on-hand to discuss the benefits of the Façade Program. Ms. Upton explained, “We were awarded a $5,000 grant that helped cover the costs of a new sign, lighting and awning.. This has enhanced our renovation project and creates an attractive place for our customers.. We’ve gotten rave reviews from some of them. As a member of the Hellertown business community it is important to ensure economic growth by doing everything possible to improve the aesthetics of our buildings and businesses.”

No comments: