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Facade improvement program: Business revamping
Orland's business facade improvement program is expanding from downtown to businesses throughout the city limits.
The City Council approved opening it up to other businesses Monday since the city's Economic Development Commission recommended the expansion.
City Manager Pete Carr said so far four downtown businesses have applied for funds to help pay for paint and other improvements to their stores or companies.
The program started in the spring with a budget of $15,000, he said.
Orland has only spent about $1,400 on the program, Carr said, which is not much out of $15,000.
Business owners can apply for up to $1,000 to cover materials needed to spruce up their store fronts or business exteriors.
The program pays about half the cost of the materials for the repairs, city officials said.
Repairs and improvements can include awnings, facia, doors, moulding and signage among other things.
They would be reimbursed once the project is completed, city officials said.
Economic Development Commissioners like Helen Duree and Gary Campbell talked to downtown business owners about the program along with Carr and Interim City Manager Gail Wingard, who came up with plan.
It was initially centered on Fourth and Fifth streets between Walker and Colusa streets as a pilot program.
Wingard advocated improving the downtown shopping district, so tourists and residents would shop there.
At this point, downtown businesses taking advantage of the program include La Perla Tapatia on Colusa Street; the Masonic Lodge's three store fronts on Fourth Street, Guerro's Store at Fourth and Colusa streets; Gloria's on Fourth Street and Slingin Ink Tattoos on Fourth Street.
Repairs included new paint, stucco, awnings and wood trim depending on the business, Carr said.
City payments ranged from $85 to $579, he said.
Sergio Duenas owns the Guerro's Store.
"The place looks better, more nice," Duenas said, after the city paid for a portion of his new paint and stucco work.
He said the job is finished and he is pleased with it.
Christine Camacho and her husband, Jose Nunez, took advantage of the program for their La Perla Tapatia store and restaurant.
"It is a good idea to help business people make their buildings look nicer," Camacho said. "New paint makes a building look nice."
Some of the old buildings downtown have not been painted "forever," she said.
Even though their building had been recently repainted, Camacho said they used the city reimbursement to touch up areas underneath the trim and awning to complete a new look.
Camacho also recommends people use the program for their businesses, she said.
Economic Development Commission Chairman Gary Campbell is excited about the facade program.
"Obviously, the city allocated money but not a lot of people dove into it," Campbell said. "I thought the whole town of Orland needs to improve its property - not just the downtown."
So the EDC pushed to make it available to any business within the city limits, he said.
As for those businesses that have taken advantage of the program, they look much brighter and nicer now, Campbell said.
"A cleaner business draws more attention to them," he added, bringing in more sales and tax money for Orland.
Those interested in applying need to submit a letter to the city outlining the repairs and improvements to be made, followed by receipts for the materials used.
For more information, call Orland City Hall at 865-1600 or the Orland Chamber of Commerce, 865-2311.