A local organization in Van Alstyne is trying to update the city. The Van Alstyne Community Development Corporation is doing what it can to give Van Alstyne a face lift.

The Van Alstyne CDC Executive Director Rodney Williams said there are two separate grants that are available to assist businesses in the city. There is the Façade Grant and Community Development Grant.

Williams said each grant has their own function and process. “The Façade Grant is open to any company moving into a pre-existing structure. The grant covers basically anything on the building that is visible - paint, glass, awnings, signage, brickwork, etc.”

Williams said the CDC will match the business owner 50% up to $5,000. “Say, for instance, that someone presents us with a $10,000 project, we could approve funding for a max of $5,000; if someone presented us with an $8,000 project we could approve funding of up to $4,000.”

“The process involves the submittal of a completed and notarized application and we ask the applicant to present the project to our Board at a meeting,” Williams continued. “The issue is discussed at that meeting and generally, but not always, voted on the same night.”

Williams noted that the Community Development Grant is a tad different, and a little bit harder to acquire. “It is a harder grant to get and is intended for more severe situations”

Williams said the grant does not cover the business’ façade, but possibly other areas. It is also used to help businesses in ‘dire need’ stay, or relocate in Van Alstyne

The board is able to choose the percentage of funding with the Community Development Grant.

The grant came in handy when the Duchess Inn was trying to open, Williams said. The owners had to install a fire sprinkler system in the entire house, which is an expensive process. It was such a huge expense that the owners almost backed out of the deal.

The CDC found out the issue and Williams met with the owners, and outlined their options. The owners applied for the grant, appeared before the board and were awarded the grant to cover half of the cost.

The Community Development Grant was able to assist the owners into opening the Duchess Inn, adding a great asset to Van Alstyne.

Lux Aesthetics, a business that moved to 132 South Main Street, was a recipient of a Community Development Grant as well. When owner Barbie Griffin moved into the new building, she was unable to operate at full capacity because the building’s floor plan was too open. It did not have walls to ensure patients’ privacy.

Griffin applied for the Community Development Grant and was approved by the board. The grant covered a portion of the cost for Griffin to have glass partitions so she could create treatment rooms.

Williams said the purpose of the grants is to “spur commercial and retail development and to improve the visual appearance and economic vitality of Van Alstyne by partnering with the local business community to help it improve existing commercial/retail/office structures.”

A side effect of the program is to beautify Van Alstyne and improve the safety of local structures to make the city a more appealing place for residents and visitors to the area and to aid in the economic vitality of Van Alstyne.

Many businesses in Van Alstyne have benefitted from the program. The Roost, El Patio Escondido, Rock’s Heart of Restoration, the Van Alstyne Public Library, and the Van Alstyne Senior Center all have made enhancements thanks to the grants.

Williams said the program has gained momentum in the past few months. “The grants have been so popular that in 2019, we have had six times the number of applicants year-to-date as compared to 2018 and the awarded funds reflect that, as well.”