A recent undertaking in downtown Cherokee exemplifies exactly what this program attempts to accomplish. It is appropriate that William and Rosanne Decker be the recipients of the first Redevelopment Incentive Fund loan for the work done on the West Main Street building that previously housed Bogenrief Studios and before that housed Rasmussen Ford.
The grant helps with only a small portion of the investment the Decker's made in developing the property into a multi-business building, but the recognition provides a tangible show of support for what was accomplished.
Although the front of the building has undergone an impressive change, the building renovation went much deeper than improving the storefront.
When they started working on the building back in July of 2006, the job seemed a bit overwhelming at first. "I'd sometimes come here in the morning and ask, what on Earth I got myself into," William Decker said. But he would come to be gratified by his decision.
"We get complimented all the time on the building and for believing in Cherokee," he said, "And I really do believe this town is showing positive signs with the Aquatic Center and the Wellness Center and other activities."
The building has five businesses and a church. There is a small part of the building yet to be completed, but most work is basically done.
The emphasis of the program is to focus on the preservation of the building's architectural character and design. A maximum of 50 percent of a storefront improvement project, up to $100 a linear foot, may be paid for through the grant.
The program is funded from part of the hotel/motel tax in Cherokee.