Sunday, December 17th, 2017

CEDC advances downtown projects

The Clarendon Economic Development Corporation gave a boost to downtown revitalization Monday night, approving measures to secure the challenge grant for the city’s water recreation project, put the completion of the Mulkey Theatre project on track, and remodel an eyesore building at the intersection of US 287 and Kearney Street.

CEDC board members approved borrowing $650,000 on a 20-year term with the funds going to the water recreation project and the Mulkey multi-purpose facility. The note will be paid for by economic development sales tax revenues that are already being collected.

The Clarendon City Council is expected to follow the CEDC’s action Thursday night by approving a 20-year loan of $350,000 secured by the Hotel Occupancy Tax, which is paid by lodgers staying in local hotels.

The combined actions of the city and CEDC will give community leaders $1 million for local projects. Half the money would be used to for the pool project, which combined with other donations and pledges will more than cover the $500,000 challenge grant put up by an anonymous donor two years ago.

The remaining $500,000 would go towards the completion of the Mulkey Theatre project, which will serve not only as a movie theatre but also as a multi-use facility for live performances, public meetings, conferences, and other activities. The CEDC has been working on the Mulkey as funds have been available since 2008.

CEDC board members also approved two proposals totaling $21,251 to renovate the former Clarendon Steakhouse building at 118 S. Kearney. The work would include installing new storefront windows and doors and refinishing the stucco façade.

The building was purchased by the CEDC in 2015 after it was heavily damaged by an automobile. A new roof has already been put on the building, and the CEDC hopes to attract a business to that location with a lease-purchase agreement.

Board members also discussed the CEDC’s façade grant program, which encourages local business owners to fix up their properties. No action was taken, but discussion centered on suspending the program at the end of the current fiscal year on September 30 and reintroducing it in fiscal year 2018 with a focus on encouraging more historic renovations to properties downtown.

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