BERLIN – While the town’s downtown character hasn’t changed, over the coming months the look will be a little fresher as local merchants continue to take advantage of the Berlin Main Street Facade Improvement Program sponsored by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.
This week the town council approved the reimbursement payment to Ta-Da, the most recently completed facade replacement downtown. The Treasure Chest is near completion as well and the list of property owners applying for the matching grant continues to grow.
The Berlin Main Street Facade Improvement Program is aimed at encouraging businesses to invest in their exteriors by matching up to $10,000 worth of facade replacement or repair, allowing merchants to make up to $20,000 worth of improvements for half the cost.
While business owners can spend as much as they like enhancing their property’s face value, huge projects aren’t the rule. In addition to the obvious work done on the front of the Treasure Chest, Berlin Director of Economic and Community Development Michael Day said owner Terri Sexton also had the Broad Street gate at the building’s rear entrance was also replaced.
Similarly, the Baked Desserts building was recently approved to have a smaller amount of work done. The
North Main Street
On the south end of
Day said there is still plenty of funding available for eligible businesses and that the state awarded
Some business owners have taken out loans to maximize the amount of work they can get done and, while the town cannot provide direct loan assistance, Day said his department would gladly provide lenders proof that half of the project cost will be government-paid.
“The longest part of the process is getting approval from the Maryland Historic Trust,” Day said. “And their turnaround is 30 days.”
The program is modeled after the successful Ocean City Development Corporation program that helped many of the resort’s business district’s businesses improve their look. So successful has that program been that it was recently expanded to include residences.
While Day said it was possible that
But as with much state money it’s a use it or lose it proposition, and for owners looking to increase both their property’s value and the area’s appeal it’s a hard deal to beat.