Downtown businesses heed calls to seek Main Street: Open for Business grant money

Businesses in downtown Grand Lake are being encouraged to piggyback a grant application that’s being put together on their behalf by the town. Similar efforts are underway in other towns in Grand County.
Sky-Hi News

About two dozen businesses in Granby and Grand Lake are in the mix as the towns prepare to seek grant money on behalf of those businesses.

Like other towns in the county, Grand Lake and Granby are looking for downtown businesses that might enjoy a new coat of paint, reduced energy bills or a handful of other possible improvements.

In their July 26 meeting, Grand Lake officials learned about the Main Street: Open For Business program that the Colorado Department of Local Affairs is rolling out — the information relayed by Mike Tompkins, who’s spearheading Grand Lake’s grant application.

Overall, the MSOB program is expected to dole out $5.7 million in grants to various Colorado communities. The money will be awarded to projects that increase property values and visual appeal, boost sales or revenues in rehabilitated buildings, reduce energy consumption and lower utility bills, or increase job creation and retention.

“For Granby, we are looking to make the biggest impact we can in a very short amount of time,” said Lauren Huber, executive director of Destination Granby, which serves as the town’s chamber of commerce.

According to Tompkins, the application deadline is Aug. 23, and he hopes to have Grand Lake’s in before Aug. 20. It’s a tight deadline, Tompkins said on Wednesday, but it’s still not too late for businesses to try to get in on the effort.

“What we’re looking for is painting, doors, windows, insulation, roofing, and heating, air condition, ventilation, HVAC,” Tompkins said. “We’re looking for anything in those categories, and we want it to be spread across as many businesses as possible.”

Because the grant focuses on main street, Tompkins said businesses on or within a block of Grand Avenue are eligible.

Likewise, Destination Granby also has been working overdrive to reach out to local businesses in the designated downtown community in Granby, hoping they too will add to Granby’s grant application.

To reach business owners, Destination Granby has sent email blasts and held informational forums and given Granby businesses a Friday deadline to respond.

“One of the tricky things about this grant is that it’s a very ambitious program with a very tight deadline, so yeah, we’re having to move pretty quickly,” Huber said, adding that Granby is looking at including about 12-15 businesses in the town’s application at this time.

Similarly, Tompkins said that about a dozen businesses in Grand Lake have also expressed interest in grant-funded improvements, and the leading items so far have been new paint and energy efficient windows.

By the time the town’s application is ready, Tompkins hopes to have about 20 total bundled into the town’s request.

“We just want everybody has the opportunity,” Tompkins said. “Everybody doesn’t have to participate, but we want to make sure everybody knows about it and has the chance to participate.”

Tompkins said that the grant requires the work be completed by the end of May, and that’s why new paint and windows have ranked so highly — they’re seen as easier projects to ensure they get finished in the allotted time.

However, he also believes Grand Lake will have businesses seeking improvements in every possible grant category once the application is ready.

Similar efforts to secure grant money are also underway in Fraser and Kremmling.

For more about joining Grand Lake’s application, email Tompkins at Tompkins also said they hope to use local contractors to do the work whenever possible, though that might not always be doable with the current demand.

“Really, if there are contractors, in particular painters, who want to get involved, we’d love to hear from them, too,” Tompkins said.


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