East Liverpool CIC OKs First Facade Grant Application

EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio – Just weeks after the city implemented its Facade Improvement Grant Program, the Community Improvement Corporation has approved the first application, paving the way for a new downtown restaurant.

The first applicant, David Bickerton, represented 514 Market LLC and was granted the maximum of $12,500 for a facade improvement project at a long-vacant building at that Market Street address (pictured above).

According to the application submitted by Bickerton, plans call for masonry, cleaning, painting selective demolition and replacing front upper panels, glass, entrances and painting. Adding the cost of labor, Bickerton indicated the total cost of the project would be $44,264, of which he has $31,764 in cash or equity to add to the $12,500 in grant funding.

The facade project is expected to begin this month.

The building is being eyed for a first-floor restaurant with office space on the second floor, according to Bickerton’s application. 

Patrick Scafide, CIC president, said there are “a lot of hoops to jump through” in order to be approved for one of the facade improvement grants.

Executive Director Bill Cowan noted the project must be inspected and signed off on before the $12,500 in grant funding is handed over. He emphasized those applying must pay 100% of the cost of their improvement project then will be reimbursed the appropriate percentage of grant funding once inspected and determined to have been properly completed.

City council recently gave approval for the CIC to manage and oversee the facade program, which is aimed at improving the exteriors of commercial structures primarily within the downtown central business district.

The city deposited $180,000 into the facade improvement program account on July 20, according to officials, with $100,000 of that coming from county commissioners and the remainder from the city’s ARPA funds.

Two existing businesses also received a boost from the CIC after its finance committee forwarded recommendations to grant their small business loan requests.

A $38,000 loan at 4% interest over three years was approved for Melissa and Kevin Kerr, owners of the M&K Winery under construction on Sixth Street.

It was discovered during renovation work that a portion of the footer, foundation and floor of the former Pattison Jewelers building must be replaced, said Kevin Kerr. Plans call for jacking up the building to do so. His company, Veterans Energy Group, will do the work. 

In recommending the loan request to the full board, finance chairman AL Fricano read from an assets plan and indicated he believes cash flow indicates the business can sustain itself. And he foresees the new winery as an asset to the city.

Board member Scott Shepherd abstained from the vote since he is the project architect. 

A $40,000 loan request from J.P. Daniels for an expansion project at the Marathon gas station on St. Clair Avenue was lowered to a $10,000 after Cowan voiced his concern that CIC funds are getting low. 
Cowan said with the loan to Kerr, whose request was made before Daniels’, and upcoming taxes and other expenses, he felt comfortable loaning Daniels $10,000.

East The board voted accordingly in favor of the lower loan amount at 4% interest over three years.

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