Downtown business owners hoping to improve their storefronts might be eligible to participate in a new zero percent interest loan program through the National Main Street Center as Kingsville has been selected to participate in the Texas Historic Commercial District Revolving Fund.

The fund, made possible by support from The 1772 Foundation Inc., was launched in Fall 2016 in partnership between the NMSC and the Texas Historical Commission’s Texas Main Street Program to support exterior rehabilitation or improvement of existing commercial or mixed-use buildings.

“What’s nice about this is that it’s all part of a larger, national program,” Cynthia Martin, downtown manager and historic preservation officer for the City of Kingsville, said.

Martin said initially, two Texas Main Street communities – San Augustine and Texarkana – were selected to participate in the program.

“The pilot program was such a success that they decided to give Texas more money,” she said. “And now Kingsville will be the third city to participate in (the program).”

The Texas Historical Commercial District Revolving Fund will award loans of up to $10,000 at a zero percent interest rate with a repayment period of three years.

“We’re not talking about huge amounts, but we can pair that zero percent interest loan with the (City of Kingsville’s) façade grant,” she said. “And between those two programs, that could make a real difference.”

Through the city’s façade grant program, owners of properties within the Historic Downtown District can apply for a reimbursement grant that will cover 50 percent of overall project costs up to $20,000.

“The façade grant is specific just to Kingsville,” Martin said. “But if you have, say, $50,000 in improvements, you could apply to borrow $10,000 through (the revolving fund) and also get reimbursed for half of (the remaining amount) through the city façade grant. That’s a big help and makes for a stronger package.”

To qualify for the revolving fund, business or property owners must submit their proposed rehabilitation projects for design review by the Texas Main Street Program and NMSC, as well as a completed loan/grant application to NMSC.

“And Texas Main Street provides free design assistance through their own dedicated design staff,” Martin said. “And what they’ll do is help (the owner) design the façade so it does meet the requirements as well as keep the integrity (of the historical exterior).”

Eligible projects include signage, window repair, exterior feature repair and masonry work.

For more information, contact Cynthia Martin at (361) 219-9325 or at cmartin@cityofkingsville.com.

Anthony Ruiz can be contacted at aruiz@king-ranch.com or (361) 221-0251.

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