After going almost nine months without any takers, the village of Riverside will hand out its first-ever façade improvement grant to a downtown Riverside business.
On Sept. 14, the Riverside Economic Development Commission voted unanimously to approve the grant application submitted last month by Peter Boutsikakis and Jerry Garbis of Riverside Foods, 48 E. Burlington St.
The owners of the longtime downtown Riverside anchor business are planning an exterior makeover for both the south and west facades, including repairs to the stucco, painting and new lighting to illuminate the Burlington Avenue façade’s sign.
“This is something we wanted to get rolling for a number of years,” said Boutsikakis in a phone interview, “but it always get pushed behind.”
The Riverside Village Board’s decision last year to earmark $30,000 for a new façade improvement grant program in the 2017 budget was the impetus for getting the work done, Boutsikakis said.
“The grant program was the turnkey to get this rolling,” he said.
Plans submitted to the village’s building department indicate that the exterior will be painted a sage green, though Boutsikakis said he was open to other colors.
“I just wanted to do something engaging,” he said.
For now the five silver gooseneck lights will illuminate the sign that’s been on the front of the business since the mid-1980s. But that sign won’t be there much longer, according to Boutsikakis, who said replacing the sign will be the second phase of façade improvement, probably in 2018.
Boutsikakis said present plans called for the new sign to be fabricated from brushed aluminum.
If the village board decides to continue the grant program next year, Riverside Foods’ owners could submit an application for another grant. Projects deemed worthy by the Economic Development Commission are eligible for half of the cost of the improvement up to a maximum of $5,000.
The project proposed by Riverside Foods is estimated to cost about $13,300, so the business will be reimbursed $5,000 for the work after it is completed.
Individual businesses are eligible for lifetime maximum grant awards of $10,000. Business owners must contribute at least $500 for a project to be eligible for the grant.
Boutsikakis said he expects the phase one façade improvements to be completed this fall.