Town grants over $200,000 to Winter Park businesses for beautification, enhancements
WINTER PARK — Changes will be coming to six local businesses after they were approved Tuesday for grants from the town totaling over $200,000 to improve and beautify their properties.
Winter Park Town Council members on Tuesday heard proposals from the six businesses regarding different projects including expanding outdoor spaces, landscaping, improving signage and making businesses more compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. The grants were approved as part of the town’s Commercial Enhancement Grant program.
The council approved five proposals as is and approved one, from Winter Park Plaza, with a lower amount than suggested. The grant program allows existing businesses to apply for up to 50 percent of the cost of improvement and beautification projects.
Winter Park Plaza, Lavender Elephant, the new Stoked Meeting House and the Village Center property each applied for money to cover costs of building new outdoor areas or expanding existing outdoor spaces.
“The creative gathering space for community members outside is supposed to be an additional experience for Lavender Elephant and Rocky Mountain Design House,” said Abby Samuelson, owner of Lavender Elephant. “What I’m missing is the average traffic that just passes by and they’re either curious about Lavender Elephant or they aren’t going to walk in because they don’t know what it is and I’m just wanting to fill that gap.”
Pine Tree Plaza and Winter Park Center applied for landscaping costs, while the Winter Park Center received money for a new sign.
The only proposal not approved as submitted, from Winter Park Plaza, had applied for the grant to build a new deck at Rudi’s Deli and a new sidewalk stretching the length of all of the businesses in the plaza with accessible ramps.
Council members said they felt that the sidewalk portion of the proposal did not completely fit under the guidelines for the grant, but they approved $58,000 of the proposed $80,803.
“The only thing I would say to this is I appreciate the ownership taking the initiative to spruce up the building,” Winter Park Mayor Jimmy Lahrman said. “I’d like to help with this; I’m not sure to the tune of $80,000.”
Last year the town awarded about $35,000 in commercial improvement grants.
The council during its regular meeting Tuesday also approved an ordinance to allow businesses to apply to become an entertainment district, which would permit the existence of a common consumption area for drinking alcohol.
There was no public comment on the ordinance and the council approved it unanimously. It takes effect immediately.
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