PITTSBURG, Kan. —
A new restaurant set to open in downtown Pittsburg — the first to do so in many years — is among five businesses that will be considered for a new round of facade grants.
At last week’s City Commission meeting, the panel approved a recommendation by the Economic Development Advisory Committee to fund Phase 3 of the Downtown Facade Grant Program. The first phase was in 2005, the second in 2008, totaling $200,000.
The third round will make available $50,000 to businesses, which may apply for varying amounts based on a formula that uses the number of square feet of frontage each business has. Funding may be spent on awnings, lighting, windows, painting or signs — anything that improves the aesthetic appearance of the exterior.
“It was a nice complement to the major investment the city made with the streetscape project — a new road, new sidewalks, new lampposts,” said Blake Benson, who in addition to serving as director of the Chamber of Commerce also heads up the city’s Economic Development Advisory Committee.
“It’s not quite as big as in the past, but the EDAC wanted it to be a very focused program and has asked business owners to submit written estimates that prove they are ready to go,” Benson said. “They must be approved and the funds disbursed by Dec. 31, 2014, so we will see results almost immediately.”
Benson said last week that the committee will review the applications when it meets on Friday. The committee will make recommendations to the City Commission at the Aug. 13 meeting, and then will consider applications that follow on a case-by-case basis.
Among those to be considered is an application submitted by Pierre Monsour, who plans to reopen in late August the former JB’s Sports Bar & Grill building at 516 N. Broadway as a restaurant and bar called Bourbon Street. It will be an upscale establishment that will feature live music.
“It really speaks well for our community that we have so many business owners seeking to invest in downtown,” Benson said. “The more people we can keep in our community and going to downtown businesses, it really benefits us all.”
OTHERS ON THE APPLICATION LIST are Wilbert’s Screen Printing, 1012 N. Broadway; Bob’s Grill, 1014 N. Broadway; Paradise Mall Antiques, 105 S. Broadway; and Fifth Street Bar & Grill, which recently changed ownership at 111 W. Fifth St.