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updated: 11/8/2012 3:32 PM

Mount Prospect offering more money for downtown improvements

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In a move to boost downtown restaurant business, the Mount Prospect village board voted Wednesday to dedicate more dollars to its Facade Improvement and Interior Build Out Program.

Under the amendment, restaurants would be able to obtain up to $25,000 in matching grants to help fund interior and exterior improvements.

The current cap of $10,000 would remain for other businesses eligible for the program.

"That's been a successful program," Community Development Director Bill Cooney said.

The additional funding for restaurants reflects the fact that the startup costs of a dining establishment are significantly higher than those incurred by straight retail business. The village has budgeted $60,000 overall for the program annually, with the money coming through TIF district funds.

The purpose of the program is to promote revitalization in the downtown TIF district. Matching grants are available to businesses that produce sales tax revenues, such as restaurants and retailers. Those receiving the grant must maintain an active membership in the Mount Prospect Chamber of Commerce and/or the Mount Prospect Downtown Merchants Association.

Before the final vote, village leaders suggested several possible changes to the program. Mayor Irvana Wilks suggested expanding the list of eligible businesses beyond restaurants, and Trustee Arlene Juracek said there should be provision limiting applications to one project at a time during a calendar.

"What I would hate to see is somebody break this down into little increments and create multiple projects out of what is really one large project," she said.

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