The Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission (JEDCO), in conjunction with Jefferson Parish, announced the launch of a new program established to help property owners give their buildings a facelift. The Façade Improvement Program offers forgivable loans of up to $50,000 to eligible property owners and businesses to improve the character and physical appearance of their building exteriors and storefronts. The loan will be forgiven, in its entirety, after a three-year compliance period.
Program participation is limited to properties located within the boundaries of two key Jefferson Parish business districts: Fat City, which included the area bounded by the western half of Severn Avenue, West Esplanade Avenue, Division Street and Veterans Memorial Boulevard; and the Jefferson Highway Corridor, which encompasses the street-facing properties between Deckbar Avenue and the Jefferson/Orleans Parish line. For many years, JEDCO and area stakeholders sought ways to revitalize Fat City and the Jefferson Highway Corridor, two high-growth areas with immense potential to positively impact Jefferson Parish’s continued economic prosperity. Parish leaders believe the incentive program will boost business revenues and attract other prospective businesses to the areas.
All property and business owners interested in participating in the program must fill out an Interest Survey, which can be found on the JEDCO website. The deadline to submit an Interest Survey is Friday, November 17, 2017. Since the program is designed to improve the look and feel of the two chosen business districts, priority will be given to business proposals with the greatest visual impact. The forgivable loan dollars must be used exclusively for exterior improvements, such as repairing, replacing or installing windows, doors, awnings, signage and masonry. The addition or improvement to lighting, ADA accessibility features, patios or outdoor spaces, exterior entryways, murals and landscaping are also considered appropriate use of program funds.
The Façade Improvement Program grew out of the Jefferson EDGE 2020, the Parish’s comprehensive economic development strategic plan. JEDCO staff played a key role in the development and implementation of the program, which will provide a major benefit to all residents and business owners located in Fat City and along the Jefferson Highway Corridor.
“The Façade Improvement Program is an exciting addition to our continued efforts in revitalizing Fat City and the Jefferson Highway Corridor,” said Jerry Bologna, JEDCO President & CEO. “These areas are primed for redevelopment and growth thanks to their accessibility, unique assets and proximity to major businesses. Offering business owners an incentive to upgrade their exteriors will create a more attractive community, which will in turn spur additional growth in these areas. We are proud to partner with the Parish to bring this project to our business owners.”
Once all surveys have been reviewed, JEDCO will open the application process. Participants who completed a survey will be eligible to complete a full application to the program.