The Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) recently launched the Utah Main Street Pilot Program, a collaborative initiative that focuses on rural communities in the state and includes numerous state agencies and other organizations as partners.

The community-led program addresses the individual needs of communities throughout the state to provide rural downtowns with support and a framework to revitalize efforts.

“GOED is delighted to take the lead on this collaborative initiative,” said Val Hale, GOED’s executive director. “Revitalizing rural downtown communities pays tremendous economic dividends to both business owners and residents by creating visually appealing and economically viable downtown buildings.”

One of the goals of the pilot committee is to administer a facade grant program. With limited funding, the program’s goal is to provide an opportunity to downtown building owners to apply for matching funds that will jump-start their facade improvements.
The committee recently announced the first facade grant awardees. Included were the Studebaker building and facades at 39-25 W. Main St. in Price and the Idle Isle restaurant building, Union block and the Howard Hotel in Brigham City.

“We were very pleased with the quality of the applications and with the commitment and enthusiasm of the property owners,” said Roger Roper, state historic preservation officer and co-chair of the pilot committee. “These projects will not only enhance the appearance of individual historic buildings, but they will also improve the overall appearance of their respective downtowns and give the local Main Street programs a big boost in their economic revitalization efforts.”
Program funding was secured from the Bear River Association of Governments, GOED, the State Historic Preservation Office, the Utah Department of Transportation, the Utah Office of Heritage and Arts, the Utah Office of Tourism and a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Business Development Program.

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