Minden Economic Development has developed a matching beautification grant that will soon be available for all of Minden’s businesses to apply for. Using revenue generated from the city’s TIF districts, this grant will go towards helping local businesses.
Essentially, the money businesses will be awarded from this grant can go towards projects to improve their storefronts. Some options businesses will be able to use the funds for include cleaning and/or repairing brick, repairing storefront windows and/or door systems, repairing upper story and/or transom windows, new awnings, new storefront signage, and painting stucco, wood, or painted masonry front.
“Applications go out Nov. 1, and the deadline to get the applications in will be Jan. 17. At the end of January, you’ll know if you’re awarded the grant or not. It’s going to take approximately two weeks. So by January 1st, they should have some confirmation stating you’re approved for the grant,” said Economic Developer Phillip Smart.
Going into detail about how this grant opportunity came to be, Smart explained, “We were discussing the fact that some local grants had dissolved due to COVID basically. The state started using those funds for infrastructure, workforce development training. Etc. Which are all things we need, but it hurt the other grant opportunities that local businesses had.”
“This is more on the local level, and we can really be more hands-on with supporting our businesses here in Minden. If there’s something we can do to help local businesses and make them more effective in these times that have really been hit hard by COVID, then that’s what we’re going to do,” said Smart.
“After speaking to local business owners about what needs they have, a lot of things that were needed included signage, awnings, essentially their storefronts.”
This grant will be available for all businesses within the city to apply for. “It doesn’t matter if you’re on Homer road, Shreveport road, or East Union, we all have the same chance to take advantage of this opportunity. I wanted it so that anyone and everyone can apply, not just a few in a select area, so everyone has the chance to make their business better. If they don’t make it this year, next year they can apply again.”
The funding for the grant comes from revenue generated by the TIF districts in the city. A TIF is an extra 2% sales tax in set TIF districts. Due to where the districts are set up in the city, namely around hotels, “Most of the taxes that are accumulated from the TIF are from out-of-towners coming to visit the city of Minden,” said Smart.
So the game plan is to take these funds generated from tourism and reinvest them into city businesses to make Minden as a whole more attractive to outsiders. Ideally, this will create a positive feedback loop of funds being generated, used to improve businesses, which draws in more visitors, which generates more revenue, and so on and so forth.
“It becomes more or less self-sufficient,” said Smart. “Doing things like this will slowly help us to evolve into the loving and thriving community that we all want to be, and I believe this grant is a step closer to that.