Grant money available to help downtown Pittsburg businesses

City commissioners in Pittsburg have approved $50,000 in grants to offer downtown businesses a chance for a facelift. They money is part of the city’s economic development fund, a portion of which comes from sales tax revenue.

Phil Minton has owned Jock’s Nitch in downtown Pittsburg since 2001. He now owns six buildings downtown.

“I just believe in downtown Pittsburg,” says Minton. “Downtown Pittsburg is like the melting pot of the entire town.”

He says a few years ago he applied and received a grant from the city to help spruce up a building currently housing Little Shop of Flowers. The city offered to match any work done on exteriors of buildings dollar for dollar.

“I put a whole brand new stucco facade on there and everything new down there and it looks awesome,” says Minton.

After offering the grant two separate times, both to the amounts of $200,000, the city will again offer downtown businesses a chance to update their looks with what they are calling Phase 3 of the project.

“It’s always a challenge for any downtown because naturally the buildings are older than in other parts of your community, it can be a challenge to keep the appearance up,” says Pittsburg Economic Development Director Blake Benson.

That is why Minton says he plans on applying for the free money once again, this time to replace windows and paint Madill’s.

“I need to do work on a couple of my buildings, this way it really helps, instead of doing just a 50% job, I can do a 110% job because it really helps stretch the budget,” says Minton.

According to Benson there are about 100 businesses downtown within a block of Broadway east and west, and that they are all eligible to apply for the help.

Benson says businesses can continue to apply until the grant money is gone, but that all the money will have to be disbursed by December 31, 2014.