Façade Grant Program Returns

After a one-year disruption caused by COVID-19, the City of Yankton’s façade grant is back and as popular as ever.

Last Monday, the Yankton City Commission voted to approve three Meridian District projects to receive the annual $30,000 matching grant.

According to the City Commission’s April 26 meeting packet, this year’s projects include:    

• 211 West 3rd Street, Cathy Clatworthy/LilyCrest: Portions of a three-phase historic preservation project to repair of the upper façade, wood and brickwork; and enhance and repair the storefront entryway architectural elements including tile and masonry work. Funding recommendation: $7,000.

• 300 West 3rd Street, George Langelett/Langelett Property Management: Cleaning, repairing, priming and painting previously painted brick façade and trim with appropriate materials. Funding recommendation: $13,000.

• 444 West 3rd Street, Blake Carda/Buhl’s Cleaners: Masonry repair/stucco and painting awning repair, and neon sign restoration. Funding recommendation: $10,000.

Each project must include a match from the property owners.

Community & Economic Development Director Dave Mingo told the Press & Dakotan that the program went on a hiatus of sorts in 2020 when, just short of the usual announcement of grant recipients, the COVID-19 pandemic became a part of the city’s financial reality.

“We would typically be in the process of having the committee review applicants and submit a recommendation to the commission in the January-April timeline,” he said. “COVID-19 and the unknowns associated with its impact on our budget had us going to a temporary contingency mode as far as budgets were concerned. Programs like this and other projects were put on hold for a while.”

However, as the year progressed, it was assessed that the city was in a better position than anticipated.

“The commission determined that things from a sales tax standpoint and other revenue sources turned out a little better than we thought they would — although not great, considering the pandemic,” he said. “They did ask for the committee’s recommendation for the 2020 award.”

The entirety of last year’s $30,000 grant was awarded to the Anderson Realty building as part of a large renovation project. The City Commission approved this grant earlier in the year before deciding to move forward with the 2021 program.

Mingo said it was important to make a return to the program as normal due to the demand for its continuation.

“When the commission decided to go ahead with the 2020 project — even though it was a little later and it was going to be constructed in 2021 — they asked about the backlog of projects and whether or not there were other competitive projects that were at or close to being ready to go,” he said. “Staff reported to the commission that there definitely were a number of other projects. In fact, we ended up with a dozen applications in 2021. They felt strongly that it’s a good program and wanted to move forward with a 2021 round of funding, even though we were having 2020’s project constructed this year also.”

He said the city ended up with $111,000 in grant requests for projects that totaled nearly $300,000.

“Demand for the program is very high,” he said. “What’s kind of exciting is, we see these project proposals evolve over time. In any given year, if a project isn’t successful, staff and the committee work with the applicants. If there were parts of their projects that met the criteria of the program and it looked like the project has potential, we work with the applicants so that they can compete again the next year and maybe have a more competitive proposal.”

Mingo said the façade grant program will likely return in 2022.

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