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Main St. Project unveils another renovation

Another downtown Austin building is scheduled for an exterior makeover.

Lou's Forever Framing, 317 N. Main St., is planning for a $64,800 renovation, mainly to its facade.

On Wednesday, Austin's Port Authority, the city's economic-development arm, approved a financial package for the Lou's Forever Framing exterior renovation, which will include a new storefront, entrance and windows.

Austin Main Street Project, a nonprofit seeking to revitalize downtown Austin, presented the project to Port Authority members.

The project, which is going through Main Street Project, will use funds through the Small Cities Development Program grant for commercial rehabilitation. The city got the grant from the state.


Deferred loans are funded with the grant rather than Hormel Foundation funds and have been extended to seven years.

The owner's contribution will total $16,200, or about 25 percent, with the other $48,600 from subsidies. About $32,400 in Port Authority funds will go toward purchasing a permanent easement on the building's exterior look .

Once the project is completed, Main Street Project will have one apartment-conversion project left under the state grant, said Craig Byram, president of Main Street Project.

Other Main St. plans

Main Street officials also are looking at 2010 and beyond for new, different focuses downtown, Byram said. They are anticipating a focus on common areas and publicly owned areas downtown, he said.

For that kind of work, Main Street Project might want to use Hormel Foundation funds, officials said.

Port Authority members agreed at the meeting to let their executive director Jim Hurm, who's also the city administrator, to send the Hormel Foundation a letter making it aware of the intention to expand the Main Street program to improve the downtown landscape.

Most of the foundation's funds have been used as forgivable loans for private projects through the Main Street Project, the letter says.


"Without the foundation's continued support, many of these projects would likely not have happened," Hurm wrote.

Improvement work on "streetscapes" downtown likely wouldn't happen until 2011, Hurm said.

Plans are in the preliminary stages now but some possibilities include benches, bike racks and sidewalk/crosswalk improvements, said Sarah Douty, Main Street Project's coordinator.

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