By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
Main Street Atmore’s Façade Incentive Program fund grew by $5,000 September 30, thanks to a sizable gift from a regional lending institution with a branch in Atmore.
Officials and employees of Gulf Winds Credit Union presented Main Street Executive Director Niki Bryan and several board members with a check for $5,000 to fatten the pool of money available for the program, primarily funded by the annual Celebrity Waiter event, which was held October 3 at David’s Catfish House.
The Façade Incentive Program provides grant funds for business property owners to enhance their property’s front, side or rear façade, as long as the façade faces a public street or public parking area. The organization has awarded 19 grants in its first two years — for store-front awnings, new signs that are visible from the street and similar improvements.
The check presentation was made at the city’s newest public parking area, the “Boxcar Willie” parking lot at the corner of Trammell and Ridgeley streets. Joining Bryan for the check presentation were Frank Giammaria, Director of Community Relations for Gulf Winds, along with Lee Ann Allen, Shea Gilchrist, Ashley Jansky, Sheilo Faircloth, Shinora Redmond and Dale Ash.
The Main Street Executive Director said the grant program is designed to steadily improve the aesthetics of downtown.
“We want to raise as much money as we can to go into that pool of money,” Bryan said. “Different property owners can submit an application for whatever they need on the outside of their building. Hopefully, in 5 years (downtown) will look completely different. We’re excited. I think it’s a pretty good thing for property owners to have some type of incentive to buy property here.”
“We want to make Atmore great again,” Faircloth commented.
Giammaria, who last visited Atmore when he presented a donation to the Strand Theatre renovation project, said he could tell a big difference.
“The revitalization of downtown areas is a big thing now, and downtown Atmore is really looking good,” he said, adding that Allen was the driving force behind the gift.
Property owners wishing to apply for a façade grant should visit mainstreetatmore.org/programs and scroll down to the red button that reads “Facade Grant Application.”