PICKENS—The Pickens city council recently voted in favor of the Façade Grant Program and awarded the contract for the downtown amphitheatre and park to Seamon Whiteside and Associates.
The Façade Grant Program will provide funding for businesses in the City Center Overlay District, and the Gateway District to improve the exteriors of their buildings.
The City Center and Overlay District boundaries are established as Main Street and Durham Mill Road on the west side, Jewel Street and East Jones Avenue on the east side, Town Creek on the north side, Hampton Avenue and West Lee Street along the Highway 8 corridor, and Pendleton Street and Monroe Street along the Highway 178 corridor.
The Gateway Overlay District boundaries are established as all properties that have frontage on Highways 183, 178, and 8 that are not located in the City Center Overlay District.
“The Pickens Revitalization Association (PRA), along with the city of Pickens, will be involved in the Façade Grant Program. Our design committee offers tips for the people interested in applying for the grant. As the director, I will sit on the Board of Review that will evaluate the applications,” said PRA Executive Director Kristen Henry.
There will be an application and approval process, and a deadline of September, 1, has been issued for all applicants.
“Businesses that are approved for the grant will receive a maximum of $5,000 from the city in addition to their own $2,500 match to assist with any improvements,” said Henry. “Businesses that are approved for the grant and do not want to take full advantage of the grant must supply 50 percent of the amount awarded.”
The PRA is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation, enhancement, and sustainable growth of Pickens’ historic downtown area.
“This grant is critical to our efforts, part of what we do is focusing on the look and feel of Main Street and we want to help the business owners maintain the historic aspects of their building, if applicable, and help them to promote their business in a way that benefits them economically,” said Henry.
The Pickens City council also took one step closer to the downtown amphitheatre and park by awarding the contract to Seamon Whiteside and Associates.
It will take the engineers from Seamon Whiteside 6-8 weeks to prepare the documents for bidding, and once the documents have been prepared, they will allow prospective contractors 30 days to bid.
“We are very excited, and the amphitheatre is also designed to help downtown businesses. The sole purpose is to drive people downtown,” said Pickens City Administrator Katherine Brackett. “All of our efforts are directly focused on improving downtown and helping the individual businesses.”
Construction on the downtown amphitheatre is anticipated to begin sometime in the fall.
Both the Façade Grant Program and the amphitheatre received a unanimous vote by the city council.