AVON PARK — Exterior repairs made to homes and businesses with the aid of city Community Redevelopment Agency facade grants often do not amount to much more than “lipstick” on a deteriorating structure, Avon Park Administrative Services Director Maria Sutherland said Thursday.
“It’s not a big amount of money, but it makes a big difference to someone who gets it,” she said of such grants, which the city began awarding about 15 years ago.
Last fall, around the start of this fiscal year, the city’s Main Street CRA Advisory Board recommended the city stop requiring many property owners in the Main Street CRA District to provide a 50 percent match of facade grant funding. This measure, which was intended to encourage more property owners to apply for the grants, was approved by the CRA Board, which consists of the five-member City Council.
Only a few properties took advantage of the grants last fiscal year and — despite not having to pay matching funds — only a few have done so this fiscal year. The most recent grant recipients include the nonprofit Ridge Area ARC Resale Store, 899 W. Main St., and the Avanti Co., which specializes in water meters and is located at 22 S. Lake Ave.