Astoria offers upgrade bucks for Uniontown storefronts

By: Derrick DePledge - Sep 14, 2016
Source: The Daily Astorian

Merchants and apartment owners in Uniontown will soon be able to apply for a share of $250,000 in urban renewal money for storefront improvement projects.

The city hopes the incentive will help revitalize commercial, industrial and apartment property along West Marine Drive.

Under the program, the city will match storefront repairs up to $10,000, cover 25 percent of work up to $50,000, and help with loans through Craft3 for projects over $50,000.

Any project over $10,000 will require approval from the Astoria Development Commission, which is made up of the City Council. The commission voted unanimously Tuesday night to launch the new program.

“My biggest fear is that we launch this program and we can’t get any takers,” said Kevin Cronin, the city’s community development director. “But I don’t think that’s going to happen. I think it’s going to be the opposite. I think we’re going to get quite a few applications in the door when it’s all said and done.”

The city wants to refresh its pockmarked western gateway.

Cronin said the storefront improvement program could be a “conversation starter” for Uniontown property owners interested in more substantial urban renewal projects.

The city is reviewing whether to expand the Astor West Urban Renewal District to include Bond Street, a move that could potentially reopen Bond to two-way traffic and offer sweeteners for homeowners to improve their properties.