Magnolia Community Development Corporation launches business improvement grant program

Magnolia businesses now could get some financial help to spruce up their shops with the launch of a new matching grant program started by the Magnolia 4B Community Development Corporation.

The 2022 Business Improvement Grant program was approved at the 4B CDC’s Feb. 10 board meeting and reimburses approved projects with 50 percent of their cost up to $5,000, paid for from sales tax revenue proceeds.

These grants, if approved by the 4B CDC and Magnolia City Council, could be used to pay for four different categories—signage, façade improvement, general site improvements and demolition.

This is the second time the 4B CDC has tried a grant program, Executive Director Rachel Steele said, the first being a smaller one that ran about 10 years ago but saw waning. This one is overhauled and updated, and she said the current growth in Magnolia’s business environment led to its creation.

“Businesses are starting to look at Magnolia to locate there, they want some assistance in just some minor things and it’s a great way to welcome new interest in as well as support our long-haulers that have been with us through decades out in the community ,” Steele said. “It’s something for everybody.”

The previous grant program was only applicable to one particular neighborhood, she said, while this new program will be citywide.

“You don’t have to be on the Stroll or the west side, it’s not geographic specific,” Steele said.

This new program could help businesses address issues such as driveways, which she said often see issues like potholes, or could be used for updating the paint outside the business, or getting a new sign, among other possibilities.

No applications have been reviewed yet, as the program as just approved a week ago, but Steele said they’ve sent out 15 applications so far. The 4B CDC is accepting applications on a rolling basis through September.

“Now is the time to get the word out and we have through the end of September to really give businesses the lead time to identify the project, run some budget numbers, talk to us. They will need to comply with the city’s design guidelines and zoning and all those development guidelines.”

Between five and seven grant applications will be accepted this year depending on the applicant pool and interest, she said.

“We’d love to hear from the community if it’s a project we should bring back and hopefully get some public input too,” she said. “We want to find the right programs that are going to support our businesses.”

This new program comes after substantial growth and development in Magnolia, including the expansion of FM 1488 and a large amount of Eastside development. Steele said she’s optimism about the future of Magnolia.

“I think Magnolia is just a great place to kind of find right now, there’s a lot of opportunity if you want to build your own building, move into some office space, locate to our industrial parks,” Steele said. “There are so many opportunities, and if you’re looking for space, Magnolia is definitely the place to look.”

Grant applications will be reviewed during CDC board meetings, so applicants will need to submit them by the 15th of the month to get them on the agenda for the following month to be reviewed.

paul.wedding@hcnonline.com

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