Three Mundelein businesses getting village grants to spruce up signs, landscaping
Three Mundelein businesses will receive village grants totaling $36,600 to help pay for new signs, landscaping and other facility improvements.
They're the latest subsidies funded by Mundelein's Business Incentive Grant program, a service created in 2014 to help improve the aesthetics of local businesses.
The village board on Monday pledged to give $30,000 to Greg's Frozen Custard, 1490 S. Lake St., to help pay for sign improvements, a brick patio, landscaping and other exterior changes.
Trustees also approved a $1,600 grant for Sunny Days Nail & Spa. The owners want to replace an exterior sign.
Finally, the board agreed to give $5,000 to the landlord who owns the building occupied by Associated Graphics Group, 525 N. Lake St. The money will help fund the installation of a new illuminated wall sign.
Mayor Steve Lentz said the grants show how the BIG program complements the comprehensive -- and controversial -- sign rules trustees enacted in April 2015.
Criticized as financially burdensome by some entrepreneurs at the time, the ordinance bans some types of commercial signs and creates restrictions for others in an effort to improve the look of the community.
"On the one hand, our village board has raised the standard for business signs, but on the other hand (the village) provides some assistance to pay for it," Lentz said.
Kee Sun Lee, owner of Sunny Days Nail & Spa, said she appreciates the village's financial assistance.
Under the sign rules, Lee had five years to replace the sign at her business. With the grant, she can better afford to do it now instead of waiting, she said.
Mundelein's grant program has a $100,000 annual budget. Instead of getting the money up front, recipients are reimbursed for up to half their expenses, with funding capped at $55,000 per recipient.
Exterior renovations, signs, landscaping changes and lighting improvements are among the projects that qualify.
The village has pledged more than $138,000 through the grant program so far.
"We view this as investing in businesses in our town," Village Administrator John Lobaito said. "And that will benefit the entire community and pay dividends down the road."