The city of Martinsville is waiting on approval for a state grant that would be used to restore downtown businesses.
The city submitted the Main Street Revitalization Program grant application Friday. If awarded, the $515,000 would go toward the Façade Improvement Program that includes renovating the facades of six businesses back to a 1890s vintage look and fix cracks in some of the buildings.
Rediscover Martinsville President Joanne Stuttgen says the restoration plan is a critical cornerstone to the historic revival of downtown Martinsville.
“We’re fighting against time to save these buildings so we can’t let up,” she says. “We’re going to take every opportunity we can find to secure funds for downtown. We have to save downtown or we’ll lose it.”
The state is expected to make its final decision on the grant by August.
If the Façade Improvement Program receives the award in the fall, reconstruction will start in summer of 2014 to be completed in 2015.
The city’s also working on a separate project that is on track to be complete in October. The city is spending $50,000 to improve a vacant downtown lot by planting trees and flower beds to screen the empty lot from public view.
Stuttgen says the projects are just the start to a larger plan to improve the city as a whole.
“We start with the most important part of our town and that is our historic core, so we try to improve that and then build economic revitalization initiatives around that and pretty soon we’re on a roll to improve the whole entire community, the county too for that matter,” she says.