The city of Palm Springs says it wants to pay part of the bill for business owners who want to improve their storefronts.
It’s called the Facade Improvement Grant Program. Business owners will have to apply and there are no guarantees they will be approved, but those who are will see considerable savings if they give their store front a little TLC.
“I will take advantage. Definitely,” said Duc Le, owner of Watercress Vietnamese Bistro.
The grant program will match 50 percent of improvement costs up to $5,000 dollars. Business owners will have to apply and be approved by the city council. Right now $250,000 dollars have been allocated to the program.
“If you look at our new downtown project, a lot of businesses across the street want to be able to spruce up a little bit,” said Palm Springs City Councilman Geoff Kors.
“The beauty of it is that when everybody spruces up the exterior of their businesses, it really just makes the whole town look a lot better,” said Joy Meredith, president of Main Street Palm Springs, a merchant association.
Some business owners say they would like to take advantage of the rebate program, but when your shop is in a historically significant building, that can be a challenge.
“You have to pay to have plans done, they have to take it to the historical people, they have to approve it and that can take up to three months,” said Victoria Ruth, owner of Victoria’s Attic in the historically designated Pacific Building.
Drawing up a plan to make improvements to a historically significant building costs money and the city will only pay for work being done to improve storefronts. Even so, business owners say every little bit helps.
“It’s really a great opportunity to paint the outside of your building, maybe get a new sign, maybe fix some broken tiles,” said Meredith.
The grant program applies to all businesses in Palm Springs, not only downtown. The Palm Springs City Council will begin reviewing applications in September.