Centerville Community Improvement Corporation plans to award more funding this year via its Uptown Upgrades, as the city continues to push reinvestment in a “critical area” of the city.
Created to incentivize façade and streetscape improvements, the Uptown Streetscapes Grant provides a 50% match up to $10,000 for projects that improve the streetscape of Uptown, which is home to nearly 100 businesses.
The grant is awarded in the form of a forgivable loan. Eligible projects include, but are not limited to, façade replacement, hardscape improvements and building additions.
Centerville Economic Development Administrator Joey O’Brien said the program shows the city’s commitment to creating vibrancy in the district via direct assistance to building owners.
“The Uptown Upgrades program has been vital for the redevelopment of the Uptown area,” O’Brien told the Dayton Daily News. Uptown surrounds the intersection of Main and Franklin streets in Centerville.
In 2022, the original round of Uptown Upgrades awarded $328,000 to local business owners. Those public investments have resulted in a private investment commitment of more than $3.7 million in property and building improvements, O’Brien said.
“As we invest public money into Uptown, we’re seeing a huge private influx of investment as well,” he said. “Utilizing that public-private partnership has been very important and has been a catalyst for new restaurants and improvements to existing buildings and helping the existing office market down there as well.”
One project that benefited from the funding is Whit’s Frozen Custard at 199 N. Main St.
“We had awarded them a set of Uptown Upgrades monies and that went to a lot of the reconstruction of that project,” O’Brien said. “We ordered them $50,000 for a lot of their equipment that they needed to convert that from an old gas station site to an up-and-running custard shop there, helping them bridge the gap there to take that site and do something that’s really been a great benefit for the city.”
Uptown Upgrades awards are also in effect at several soon-to-come restaurants, including Agave & Rye at 11 N. Main St., Manna at 61 W. Franklin St. and Brunch Pub at 101 W. Franklin St.
The Uptown Upgrades program helps property owners looking to handle the increasing amount of upkeep necessary for an older building, of which there are many in the area, O’Brien said.
“This really helps them as the building ages and they’re maintaining it and putting improvements into it,” he said. “It can really help close the gap and maybe convince a property owner to invest in their building to make it look nicer for anyone who drives through Uptown or who lives or works in that area as well.”
Uptown Upgrades is a competitive application that prioritizes larger and more transformative projects, the city said. The application cycle will remain open until funding is exhausted. Property owners may contact the Centerville Development Department at 937-433-7151 or firstname.lastname@example.org to ask questions or request an application.