Grants Made Available for Downtown Businesses
For the first time in its history, the City of Nicholasville launched a Small Business Property Incentive Grant program in the fall of 2022.
Open to brick-and-mortar businesses within the Downtown Business District, the aim of these grant awards is to increase economic development and support local business.
Business owners approved for a grant will be reimbursed for qualifying beautification improvements, such as installing exterior lighting and landscaping, as well as structural repairs and other projects. Recipients also will match a portion of the expenses based on total project cost, starting at 10%.
“We’ve had a great response,” said Stephen Pracht, Grant Administrator. “I have been meeting with many local business owners who are interested and applying.”
One of the grant recipients is the Jessamine County Chamber of Commerce. The chamber used their award to prepare an exterior brick wall, making it possible to install the newest downtown mural. Others were to be announced early in 2023.
The capital for these awards comes from federal funds the city received through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). City commissioners approved allocating $500k of the APRA funds to the beautification of downtown.
“When we first found out we were going to receive ARPA funds, one of the biggest questions was, how we can use them to help the residents,” shared Pracht. “A grant program was one of those ideas everyone got behind.”
Pracht, who stepped into the newly created position of Grants Administrator in 2021, is among those most excited to put these funds in the hands of Nicholasville citizens.
“My goal with this program is to make sure we have plenty of participants, and to use up all this money,” he said, laughing. “We think this will help our downtown. Every business owner has seen a decline in foot traffic since COVID-19. If we can make our downtown a little more vibrant, it should drum up interest for the entire area.”
Pracht hopes this inaugural program in downtown, or as he calls it, the “heart of the city,” will be successful, and just one initiative directed towards assisting local businesses in Nicholasville.