Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Downtown Façade Grant Project Completed at 126 E Main & 424 E Main

Two downtown façade grant projects have been completed on E Main Street. Mayor Jody McLeod presented Dorothy Parker and Herman Mitchiner with a grant of $5,000 for the improvements made to 126 E Main Street, the new home of Zoom-In Photography and Studio Bleu Hair Salon. The total costs of the façade grant project were in excess of $10,000.

A second presentation was made to Mrs. Parker and Mr. Mitchiner at 424 E Main Street, where Old Towne Supply has been located for many years. The mayor presented a grant of $1,938.91 for improvements to that building’s façade.

Mayor McLeod said he is excited the Town of Clayton is able to produce this type of grant to enhance downtown and Main Street. “It is amazing what they (Dot Parker and Herman Mitchiner) were able to do with the buildings, to have taken something old and make it new again.”

The Façade Grant program reimburses 50% of the costs of exterior commercial building improvements with a grant cap of $5,000. To date the program has shown an aggregate return on investment of $8 of private investment for every $1 of public investment.

At 126 E Main Street, the corner of Main Street and Church Street, formerly known as The Little Shop, the interior and exterior renovation project began 7 months ago in order to relocate Zoom-In Photography from E Horne Street. Façade improvements included re-painting the front façade and cleaning the brick on the west side of the building. The metal awning was replaced with a black canvas awning and the display window glass and trim was replaced. The existing signboard area was painted and three gooseneck-style lights were installed. Two additional lights were installed on either side of the entry door. Doors and trim were replaced and wrought iron planters were installed on both sides of the main door. A wrought iron fence was also added adjacent to the building.

The improvements are a dramatic change from just a few years ago when the building, vacant for many years, appeared run down and abandoned. Some minor cosmetic changes were made a couple of years ago, but with the assistance of the DDA Design Committee, Holley Carpenter of Cider House Studio developed a rendering that was presented to the property owners as a template for the current façade improvements. The project has also added a new business to downtown, Studio Bleu, a hair salon owned by Mollie Bleu Mitchiner.

The improvements at 424 E Main Street were nearly as dramatic, again, using the DDA’s Design Committee recommendations and a rendering from Ms. Carpenter. The project included the removal of an over-the-sidewalk pole-supported canopy, repainting the front, west façade and east facing wall a brick color with white trim. The upper cornice was repaired and replaced and extended above the front doors and to the western side of the building. Gutters were relocated to keep water from draining onto the sidewalk. To help break up the expanse of the front wall, the Design Committee recommended the planting of several Sky Pencil Japanese Hollies and to paint a new Old Town Supply sign directly to the building, which will replace an aluminum sign.

DDA Design Committee Chair, Boo Carver said a third façade project is underway at 427 E Main Street, the old Lipscomb Hardware building. About $3,000 still remains in this fiscal year’s Façade Grant budget for some smaller projects, but the projects need to be completed in early to mid-June. According to Ms Carver the application process is fairly simple: Complete the application, in which the property/business owner describes the proposed improvements, provides at least two cost estimates, with color and material samples and submit it to Downtown Development Coordinator Bruce Naegelen, who is also available to help complete the application. He will review it to make sure the application is complete and then the DDA Design Committee reviews the application.

To review the application and process, visit Downtown Facade Grant Application. For more information, please contact Bruce Naegelen at (919) 553-1545 or

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