The Eaton Rapids Downtown Businesses have a little help in their COVID recovery. The Downtown Development Authority board awarded $20,000 in grant funding at their August meeting.
“This is the first year we’ve been able to provide a little more in grant funding,” said DDA/Main Street Executive Director Jason Smith. He noted in years past, the DDA has awarded up to $10,000. “We’ve done a really good job of fiscal responsibility in years past, so we now have some flexibility to increase our budget. It honestly could not have come at a better time, too. We’re able to help out our downtown businesses after being shut down for so long,” Smith continued. The guidelines for grants were changed for 2020 to allow for economic recovery as well as façade improvements. While some opted to ask for help with mortgage payments and utilities, many also had eyed the completion of projects that had been planned prior to the shutdown. Among these projects include new windows and energy-efficient lighting, new awnings, and code-compliance repairs.
The goal is to assist with façade projects to spur more new building improvements and continued investment into the downtown. Many business owners utilized the shutdown to make improvements to the interior of their buildings, taking advantage of underutilized space.
As businesses continue to rebound, the DDA has worked closely with them to generate traffic, including a recent ‘Grand Re-Opening’ of the downtown that featured radio advertisements encouraging people to make the scenic drive on M-50 to Eaton Rapids, as well as gift card giveaways.
Eaton Rapids is also a Michigan Main Street Community, a program operated by the MEDC that assists communities interested in revitalizing and preserving their traditional commercial district through incentives and a guided plan for development. The Main Street program has helped to spur $306 million in private investment across the state, and over 1,400 new businesses.
For more information, please contact Jason Smith, DDA/Main Street Executive Director at or 517-663-8118 x8157.
Article submitted by Jason Smith, Eaton Rapids Downtown Development Authority