The city soon could offer grants for new signs and building facades to businesses in the Southwyck area of Reynolds Road - but not as much as originally planned - under a scaled-back ordinance that cleared a city council committee yesterday.
The grant program would provide up to $2,500 for a new sign and $5,000 for a new facade. Property owners or tenants would have to match the grants with private investment of at least $7,500 for a sign and $15,000 for a facade.
An earlier version would have provided $5,000 for a new sign.
"We expect this to be very well received by the property and business owners," said Donald Monroe, senior development specialist under Mayor Carty Finkbeiner.
Council's economic development committee recommended approval of the ordinance when council meets on Tuesday.
The sign and facade grant program is part of an effort by the Finkbeiner administration to spruce up the Reynolds corridor in front of Southwyck Shopping Center, and increase pressure on the owners of the shopping center to sell it for redevelopment.
The shopping center has been losing tenants, and is set to lose its last anchor, Dillard's, next month.
The ordinance would provide $55,500 out of the 2007 budget by reallocating unspent money from the Department of Development's budget.
The grants would be available to an estimated 80 businesses fronting Reynolds between the Ohio Turnpike and Swan Creek.
Mr. Monroe said the new signs would have to follow proposed signage guidelines for the Reynolds corridor that would prohibit new signs on poles.
A related ordinance, to spend $985,000 for streetscape improvements to Reynolds in the Southwyck area, will be amended to allocate at least $150,000 for street repaving, according to Casey Stephens, commissioner of the city's division of environmental service.
He said if the project is approved soon, construction bids would be awarded by mid November, and the work would be completed by late spring.
A proposal to begin eminent-domain proceedings against Southwyck remains stuck in the economic development committee.