Future of Denton Business Grants in Question

Reimbursement grants enhance downtown Denton's character

By Sara Story
|  Tuesday, Jul 26, 2011  |  Updated 5:38 PM CDT
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Denton is putting money back in the hands of business owners with grants up to $50,000 for those who revitalize and enhance the character of downtown buildings.

Sara Story, NBCDFW.com

Denton is putting money back in the hands of business owners with grants up to $50,000 for those who revitalize and enhance the character of downtown buildings.

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A city fund that helps businesses revitalize downtown Denton is in danger of being cut.

Grants from the $50,000 reimbursement program are used to revitalize and enhance the character of downtown buildings.

Denton must make a decision in September to keep or cut the Downtown Incentive Reimbursement Grant Program.

"It is always something that gets discussed during budget cuts -- 'Well, that's $50,000. That's a lot of potholes we could fix,'" said Julie Glover, the city's economic development program director.

Glover said the grant was created as an incentive to help businesses and preserve the historic feel of downtown.

"We do have some really new, hip stuff and some old stuff," she said. "We just want to make sure it blends cohesively."

The owners of Hoochie's Oyster Bar, Sam Solomon and John Blackwood, received some much-needed help from the city to restore an old yellow house.

"On the small budget we are on, it helped a lot," Solomon said.

The restaurant will soon open in the heart of Denton, just a few blocks from the downtown square and a stone's throw away from the railroad tracks.

"I have pretty much fallen in love with the culture and the city itself," Solomon said.

"The small businesses have populated the square, and these areas seem to be flourishing," he said. "Hopefully, it will continue to grow."

Glover said she wants the reimbursement program to stick around. For every dollar the city has granted, the private sector has reinvested $36.

"I think it's an incredible return on investment," she said.

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