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Two Downtown Businesses Apply For Grants

Two downtown business owners have applied for matching grants through Palatine's facade improvement program.

The Music Room and Belmonte State Farm applied for matching grants through Palatine's facade improvement program.

The Music Room, 26 N. Brockway St., will be eligible for up to $50,000. Belmonte, at 17 W. Railroad Ave., could receive a maximum grant of $43,920. Both businesses project would include brick and masonry work and improvements to awnings and windows.

"Wow, this is great," District 6 Council member Brad Helms said, of the investments being made downtown. "It's good to see."

Palatine updated its somewhat dormant facade improvement program last year. The village budgeted $150,000 for the program. The new program has garnered strong interest from downtown businesses. Businesses can receive $10,000 to $50,000 in matching grants depending on the size of building and how much of it faces a public street.

Previously, Dobby's Worldwide Liquors at 15 S. Brockway St., and James Longfield who owns two buildings downtown – 53 W. Slade St., and 17 N. Brockway St. through 25 N. Brockway St., had grant applications approved.

The businesses that occupy Longfield's buildings inlcude T.J. O'Brien's, Monson Jewelers, Foxglove Cottage and Village Barber.

The grants come from Palatine's downtown tax increment financing (TIF) district, not the village's general fund. The downtown tax increment financing district was created in 2002. The property tax revenue within the district was frozen at 2002 levels; increased property tax revenue since 2002 has gone into a TIF fund that is used for various public improvements within the district.

Only businesses located within the TIF district are eligible. The boundary of the TIF snakes through downtown and its boundaries include areas on both sides of the railroad tracks downtown.

The popularity of the program means that there could only be $35,000 for The Music Room this year, even though the business qualifies for a $50,000 grant. Village officials said that the remaining $15,000 could come in next year's budget, said Deputy Village Manager Mike Jacobs.

Representatives from The Music Room said plans for the exterior improvements will proceed this year.

"Your business is truly a valued asset in the downtown area. It's good to see," Helms said.

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