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Downtown properties may be in for face-lifts
Seven downtown commercial properties are on the Fredericksburg ARB's Sept. 12 agenda for new facade improvement program

 Antique Court of Shoppes is one of seven properties in downtown Fredericksburg that could be part of the Fredericksburg Economic Development Authority^BENT^0027^EENT^s facade improvement matching grant program. (August 30, 2011/Suzanne Carr Rossi) ------ 4 col color
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Date published: 9/3/2011


Seven downtown commercial properties that could be part of the Fredericksburg Economic Development Authority's facade improvement matching grant program are on the Sept. 12 agenda of the city's Architectural Review Board.

The EDA program is intended as a cost-effective way to spruce up downtown properties through work such as exposing covered windows and painting. Buildings must be in the historic district or along William Street up to and including the 600 block, which intersects with Barton Street.

The EDA, which receives no taxpayer money and gets its funds by arranging tax-free financing for businesses and organizations, has budgeted $60,000 for the program this fiscal year and is offering up to a $10,000 matching grant for each qualifying downtown commercial property. Applications for the first round of grants are due Oct. 3.

Staunton-based architect Kathy Frazier visited Fredericksburg in March and developed specific recommendations for how downtown could be improved and what properties might be used as pilots for the EDA's new program. She developed recommendations for most of the properties that are on the ARB agenda.

Each of the property owners still has to apply to the EDA; Fredericksburg Assistant Economic Development Director Richard Tremblay believes that each of the property owners will in fact apply. The building holding The Rocking Horse Gallery at 803 Caroline St. is the only property involving the facade improvement program that is on the ARB agenda and that was not among the demonstration projects in Frazier's report.

The EDA will consider grants for Frazier's demonstration projects, assuming they all apply, on Oct. 17. The EDA will consider the Rocking Horse Gallery project, and potentially others that apply before Oct. 3, at its November meeting. Here are the facade improvement projects on the ARB's agenda Sept. 12:

720 Caroline St. (current use: Grey Ghost Gallery)

803 Caroline St. (current use: The Rocking Horse Gallery)

822 Caroline St. (current use: Du Jardin--former home of the Silver Spider)

912-916 Caroline St. (current use: Caroline Square, Antique Court of Shoppes)

1013 Caroline St. (current use: PA Dutch Tea & Spice Co.)

1015 Caroline St. (current use: Walter & Co.)

422 William St. (current use: Ristorante Renato)

Also on the city's ARB agenda Sept. 12 are Mike Degen's renovation project at 1200 Prince Edward St., Jarrell Properties' plans at 1005 Sophia St. and exterior alterations at a private residence at 301 Caroline St.

Bill Freehling: 540/374-5405
Email: bfreehling@freelancestar.com