Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Applications for Downtown Façade Improvement Grant

Applications for the new Façade Improvement Grant Program for commercial buildings in downtown Clayton are now available in the Planning and Inspections Office in The Clayton Center. The matching grant program will provide an incentive to commercial property and business owners to upgrade the exteriors of their buildings. The Town Council recently approved the development of a $5,000 Façade Grant fund for this fiscal year.

Mayor Jody McLeod said, “The first impression a visitor has of a town is often the appearance of downtown. We have a great downtown, but there are signs and buildings that need some sprucing up. This program will provide an incentive for that to happen.”

The Clayton Downtown Development Association developed the program and eligible projects include façade improvements, brick or wall surface cleaning, painting and repair of exterior walls, signage or lighting installation and repair, awning repair or replacement, and window or door repair and replacement. A complete list is included with the application, which is available in the Planning & Inspections Department at The Clayton Center, 111 E Second Street. Applications are on a first-come, first-served basis.

Eligible applicants may apply for up to $1,200 in matching funds with the applicant providing 75% of the project cost. For example, an applicant with a $5,000 façade improvement project could receive a $1,200 reimbursement through the grant program.

For more information, please contact Downtown Development Coordinator Bruce Naegelen at 553-1545 or

Downtown Clayton Parking Report

Downtown Clayton's parking issue is not the number of spaces (there's plenty) rather it's where they are, the condition and who can park. Two good overviews were provided in news articles in the Herald on Friday, Feb 16 and the Clayton News Star in today's edition (Feb 21).

The Town Council was presented with the report on Monday evening (Feb 19) and made generally positive comments. The Downtown Development Association will use that document as a tool for planning parking, streetscape and other improvements in downtown Clayton.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Downtown Development Association’s Economic Restructuring Committee reviews survey distribution assignments. (l-r) Brad Carroll, Mary Lytle, Committee Chair, Samantha Muncy and Frank Price.

Clayton Downtown Development Association has begun work on a downtown market analysis and the first step is with surveys of downtown merchants and business owners. The surveys are pretty comprehensive and will provide a good assessment of the economic condition in downtown Clayton.

Quite simply, a downtown market analysis is the process of documenting details about the downtown’s current condition, exploring changes occurring in the marketplace, verifying what consumers want from downtown, discovering what businesses the downtown market will support, and creating a downtown business development strategy.

Analyzing the survey results and other information, the DDA will be able to make better decisions in determining strategies and programs to help strengthen existing businesses and recruit new businesses that have a chance to succeed in downtown. Distribution of these surveys has already begun. The committee hopes business owners will complete and mail the surveys by March 1.

According to Samantha Muncy, chair of the DDA’s Economic Restructuring Committee, the individual survey information is confidential, anonymous and no one locally will see any of it. Ms. Muncy said that, “The individual surveys will be sent directly from the business owner to a NC Main Street staff member who will compile and help analyze the information.” She added that, “Other than a North American Industry Classification number (NAIC) the forms themselves have no indication of the identity of the specific business.”

There will also be a survey of consumers at various shops throughout downtown Clayton. The customers are asked to complete the 2 page survey at the store and turn it in to the owner or clerk who will hold them until the end of the survey period which is March 1.

The DDA’s Economic Restructuring Committee is comprised of Ms. Muncy, as chairperson; Don Johnson, Director of the Johnston Community College Small Business Center; Brad Carroll, Patriot State Bank; Mary Lytle, Accounting Advantage; Frank Price, civil engineer and chair of the Clayton Planning Board; and Lyn Austin, Clayton Cultural Arts Foundation.
Once they have a detailed picture of the downtown’s economy, the Economic Restructuring Committee will shape a business retention campaign that includes providing assistance and training to existing businesses and helping them expand.

Next they will shape a recruitment campaign to complement existing businesses and buildings downtown. Recruitment will target businesses that people want and that the market will support. With their market analysis in hand, Clayton Downtown Development Association will have a better chance of bringing business prospects downtown.

If you would like to get involved with the Economic Restructuring Committee or want more information on the downtown market analysis, call Samantha Muncy at 553-7431 or Downtown Development Coordinator Bruce Naegelen at 553-1545.