Downtown Sylvester businesses get help restoring historic architecture

Downtown Sylvester's historic architecture will be getting a helping hand. / Colby Gallagher

From top to bottom, the outside appearance of a building can make the difference between window shopping and making a purchase. Thanks to a new facade grant, businesses in downtown Sylvester may be able to get a facelift.

"Business owners and property owners can go in and renovate their buildings, their storefronts and be reimbursed at up to $500," said Downtown Enhancement Director, Brittany Evans.

The city of Sylvester allocated $3,000 towards this project that allows owners whose businesses are located within the Downtown Development Authority boundaries to receive the money when they make some upgrades that retain the historic feel of the area.

"We want to push, hey let's repair things and not replace them because that devalues the building and we want to maintain that historical architecture within the whole community," said Evans.

These changes can range from applying new paint or adding an awning to removing previously renovated materials to uncover architectural details.

Fresco Italiano worked with a construction company to develop an authentic Tuscan feel for their business - and they say this grant is a way to entice more customers to the area.

"With that kind of motivation we can hook up our downtown and make it better and invite people from out of town," said Chef Alan Torres, whose family owns the business.

Evans hopes they will have a design board assembled to review applications and pick the recipients by December. She says this grant will show businesses how much the town appreciates the effort they put into rebuilding the downtown area.

"This is just a token of our appreciation, it's not much but it's saying that we want you here and we want to work for you."

Applications for the grant are available at the Sylvester City Hall.

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