The city's downtown fašade grant program was started in 2012, and the fruit of that labor is beginning to show.

The city's downtown façade grant program was started in 2012, and the fruit of that labor is beginning to show.

Historic Shawnee Alliance (HSA) President Linda Agee said there has recently been an influx of applicants and some of their finished projects are starting to make a difference along Main Street.

Community Development Director Justin DeBruin said the city's goal through the program is to encourage highly visible enhancements downtown.

Though the program started through the city, it was turned over to the HSA a couple of years ago, Agee said.

The HSA Facade Grant Program is made possible through funding provided by the City of Shawnee.

“They give the HSA $12,000 per year for facade grants and $4,000 to administer the program,” she said.

Agee said when the city administered the program, they had two open periods during the year to accept grant applications, but the HSA thought it would be better to offer grants year-round until the funds were expended. “Often when someone purchases one of these historic buildings, they want to begin renovations right away,” she said.

In the past we also received $5,000 per year from the SEDF but we didn't receive anything last year because of the merger (with the Greater Shawnee Area Chamber of Commerce into Shawnee Forward) and I understand Shawnee Forward is still working on their budget for the coming year.

Last year, Agee said HSA received a one-time donation of $5,000 from the Shawnee Industrial Authority.

As the city's Fiscal Year begins in July and funds then become available, grants are given by HSA from then until funds are depleted, according to the HSA website at historic-shawnee.com.

The grant committee is established by HSA, and is made up of members who do not own a business or building in the designated Downtown Revitalization area.

A maximum matching grant of $4,000 is allowed per approved project.

The grants can only be used for renovation of a facade.

Types of facade improvements can include things such as:

• Cleaning of wall surface

• Masonry repair

• Repair or replacement of original architectural detail

• Replacement of non-historic doors

• Removal of exterior false facades

• Rehabilitation of store front

• Painting with historically correct colors

• Removal/replacement of historically appropriate signage

• Removal of awning

• Installation of permanently affixed landscaping.

Once approved, applicants are required to start their projects within 90 days and finish within six months — though an applicant may request an extension of up to 180 days.

According to its website, HSA is a nonprofit organization formed to help downtown building owners preserve and improve their historic structures, attract new business, encourage downtown living, promote arts and entertainment, and make area improvements that will enhance the quality of life for Shawnee citizens.

“For every $4,000 grant, most of these building owners have invested three to four times that much in improvements,” Agee said.

This year's projects include:

Completed

• Hornbeck Theatre, 125 N. Bell (Ronald Jones) $1,005

• South Central Industries, 130 N. Louisa (Tina Hanna) $4,000

• Legacy Realty, 14 W. Main (Cindy Bidak) $4,000

Underway

• Gary Berlin, 20 W. Main $4,000

Granted, but not yet started

• Choice Title, 118 N. Broadway (Pam Atyia)

• Linda's Marquee Realty, 425 E. Main (Linda Agee)

• Russ Haslam, 402 E. Main

Under review

• St. Paul's United Methodist Church

• GH Coffee Company

For more info

For more information about HSA, visit historic-shawnee.com.

Applications should be submitted to the Historic Shawnee Alliance, P.O. Box 144, Shawnee, OK 74802-0144. If grant funds are no longer available or if the application is incomplete, the applicant will be notified that the application cannot be considered.