Improvement grants help city encourage new businesses
For years, the city of Sandy has encouraged new business, especially in the community's downtown core. Once there was the main street effort, now there are funding mechanisms in the Urban Renewal Agency budget to help businesses: a tenant improvement and a facade improvement program.
The facade improvement program began 10 years ago and offers funds for businesses to improve the exteriors of their buildings. It was started around the same time that the city adopted Sandy style. It is an incentive to address existing buildings in need of repair and to help new businesses adopt Sandy style.
Two businesses in town — the Tollgate Inn Restaurant and Bakery and Joe's Donuts — are called out as iconic buildings, which can receive funding while retaining their recognizable paint jobs.
Through the facade improvement program, businesses can get matching grants of up to $41,500 to work on their buildings. The city can help three to six projects a year.
The tenant improvement program was created last year to address a long-standing Sandy City Council goal to attract more new and better restaurants to Sandy. "They'd like to see more options and help improve the options we have," Economic Development Manager Dave Snider told The Post.
This program was designed to help with interior improvements, such as inserting grease interceptors, adding a commercial hood or installing a fire suppression system. The grant can also apply to items like lighting, plumbing, flooring and fixed furnishings.
Until recently, the city budgeted to match up to $25,000 per project at maximum, but Council approved an increase to $30,000 earlier this year.
"We want to help restaurants improve their interiors, but also especially improving ADA access and fire and life safety," Snider said.
Two businesses have received TIP funds: Brady's Brats and Burgers and Paola's Pizza Barn. Brady's was a full match, with the city expending $25,000. Paola's new owner received help funding the install of a grease interceptor at a $5,250 expense to the city.
"That was great because building had never had a grease interceptor," Snider said. "It's intended both to help current businesses make improvements and to encourage new restaurants, new commercial kitchens to come to Sandy."
Chain restaurants are not eligible for TIP or FIP funds. The programs' funds are first-come-first-serve. This next proposed budget has allotted dollars to fund up to seven full FIP projects and two full TIP projects starting July 1 to July 2021.
For more information on the improvement programs, visit www.ci.sandy.or.us/facade-improvement-grants.
There are funds left for projects this biennium, but the new biennium begins in July.
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