ELYRIA — A part of town driven through for hundreds of years is finally getting a face life after Elyria City Council unanimously approved a downtown facade program on Tuesday.
Mayor Holly Brinda said a total of $100,000 coming from economic development funds will kick-start the initiative.
Businesses and building owners can apply to have up to half of their project reimbursed, up to $10,000.
Work includes painting, trim, windows, signage and lights. With aging buildings, Brinda said the work is well overdue, but updating infrastructure around town took precedent.
“Our building is over 200 years old. For me to make it look new, I’d have to take it to the ground and build a new one," said John Dixon, owner of Powerhouse Gym in Elyria.
Dixon said walking around downtown is not what it used to be.
"After about 4 o’clock, we’re the only light on down here," he said. “It’s sad. It’s depressing.”
Dixon has operated the gym for about 12 years. When he started, he had close to 1,200 members. Now, he has a lean 800.
He applied for a grant from the city, and hopes beefing up aesthetics will help bulk up membership.
“Give it a face lift. Paint. New bricks. Windows. Just to make it look new again," he said.
Any business owner can apply before the end of the year. Call Mayor Brinda's office at 440-326-1402.