GREENWOOD, Ind. - A city program is helping local businesses in Greenwood make downtown a more attractive place.
In the later part of 2016, Greenwood launched the Granting Revitalization and Opportunity for the Workplace Initiative, or GROW. The city set aside $500,000 to match investments business owners were making to the exterior of their properties.
"It wasn’t that it was ever horrible, but you have some old buildings that aren’t practical for modern business," said Jason West, the owner of Grafton Peek Catering and Cakery.
In September of 2017, West used funds from the program to help cover the costs of installing new windows, new doors, and a new sign to his business along E. Main St.
"It added a real pop to it," West said. "The money was well spent, both on behalf of the business and for the city."
West also owns the Grafton Peek Ballroom. The two buildings are both part of the 24 structures in the city's downtown area that have taken part of the city's program to date. Some owners have been approved for money but have not used it, yet.
"I wasn’t expecting what we see today," said Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers, who was surprised to see so much participation.
Since so many business owners have already applied for the money, the city committed another half-million dollars to the program in 2018.
Myers said there are several more businesses interested in applying for the funds. Adding some owners could be looking at the maximum amount a business can receive.
Mark Henricks is the chef owner of Revery and is hoping to secure money through GROW to help with expansion pegged for later this year.
"It’s myself, I do the payroll, I do the electrical, I do the plumbing sometimes," Henrichs said, who is pleased the city will have his business, and his neighbors invest in their work.
Henrichs said his restaurant needs more space because its consistently busy on Friday and Saturday nights.
According to information provided by the city, the GROW fund still has a little more than $490,000 available for area businesses. To date, the total investment between the city and the private sector totals nearly $750,000.