Fayetteville extends program that gives business grants to renovate, buy and beautify spaces

Monique John Image
Friday, May 17, 2024
Fayetteville extends program that gives grants to beautify city
City officials said the Commercial Exterior Grant Program has about $300,000 to give away.

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- The City of Fayetteville is expanding a grant program for businesses renovating their storefronts and for those business owners looking to buy their store locations. It was originally funded by the American Rescue Plan, but now the city is using its community funds to support growth.

After spending a year trying to buy a property for her driving school, Bobbie Jo Wirt, the owner of All American Drivers Education Inc., told ABC11 that she was excited to move it to a warehouse on North Racepath Street. But her work was cut out for her.

"When we bought it, it was empty and really run down. So it needed a lot of love," Wirt said.

The City of Fayetteville said it gave her a $30,000 grant in 2023 for the down payment and gave her a $24,000 grant in February to spruce up the place.

"We went from there and were able to revitalize our parking lot, get new lines on the parking lot, a new front door, a sign for our building, the awning for our building. It was a huge thing because it would have taken us a really long time to do that on our own. But with the economic development group's assistance, we were able to do it much sooner," Wirt said.

City officials said they're using what they call the Commercial Exterior Grant Program to fund businesses' renovations all across the city. This current iteration has about $300,000 to give away.

"The larger goal for the city is we want to increase the economy and diversify our community's tax base. And we do this by strengthening those communities, by helping those small businesses in those areas," said Derrick McArthur, the economic and community development manager for the City of Fayetteville.

The owner of RDL Therapeutic Physical Therapy Clinic, Darnisha James, also received a grant for renovations.

"We've had an increase in our staff, increase in our clientele. The exterior...it's just been an eye-catcher," James said.

Wirt says she thinks it's a great opportunity for small business owners and hopes others don't miss out.

"I think that people are scared when they think about working with the city. They're like, oh, all the red tape and this is going to be hard and they don't want to go through the process. But the truth was, it was a seamless process."