City approves match funds for building façade grant

The Jefferson city council at its Jan. 12 meeting approved $250,000 in matching funds for a Community Development Block Grant seeking up to $500,000 for renovation of building facades in the historic downtown district.

The matching funds would come from tax increment financing (TIF) revenue. City attorney Bob Schwarzkopf explained after the meeting that the downtown district is part of a larger urban renewal TIF district already established. He said that although it is not anticipated downtown property values would increase enough to fund the project, increases in values in the rest of the district will.

Participating downtown building owners will as a group provide another $250,000 in matching funds should the grant request be approved. Each owner’s amount would depend on the size of the building and the scope of that specific project.

The required public hearing on the grant application was set for the council’s next meeting, Jan. 26 at 5:30 pm.

The council approved without discussion a page of downtown building design guidelines proposed by the Jefferson Matters: Main Street design committee. City administrator Mike Palmer and city building inspector Nick Sorensen discussed the guidelines with the committee previously. “These guidelines are not enforceable. They’re just guidelines to suggest as people are making improvements to their buildings,” Jefferson Matters program director Peg Raney said.

The guidelines are included in the council packet.

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