The past 18 months have been anything but easy. Small business owners were especially hard-hit during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, many having to rely on assistance through programs like CARES or the PPP to get them through. However, one should never underestimate the perseverance and resilience of our small business community. Even in the midst of a pandemic, many local businesses decided to utilize some of their time during stay-at-home orders and reinvest in their property. For some of those businesses, our Local Redevelopment Program was able to grant awards of up to $15,000, giving them a direct return on their investments.
What is the Local Redevelopment Program?
Designed to support small business real property investments and expand real estate tax receipts for the city, the Local Redevelopment Program has been effective in incentivizing public-private partnerships and private investments. By assisting property owners and/or business owners with real property and capital investment projects, we are able to help decrease vacancy rates, revitalize areas and increase the City’s tax base. This year, $240,000 was awarded to support 15 local businesses through the Local Redevelopment Program, creating 81 new jobs and leveraging $16.3 million in capital investments across the City.
306 Rivermont Avenue stands at the intersection of the Rivermont Avenue and D Street Bridges. Originally a fuel station owned by an oil company, the building has gone through multiple owners, lying vacant for a number of years. Local investors Daryl and Johanna Calfee purchased the building in 2018, and set about to find tenants that could make it into something unique. Cue Bacon St. Bagels, a New York style bagel and sandwich shop. Now, if you drive by almost any morning – especially on a weekend – you’ll see cars lining Rivermont Avenue and a crowd outside under the awning. While no longer a fuel station, people are still stopping by to fuel up for their day almost 70 years later.
Phillips Wheel Alignment is hidden in a little nook off of Alleghany Avenue, on Norma Street. You may not have known it was there, but for their longtime customer base, there’s no where else they would trust with their vehicles. Randall Phillips and his family have owned the business for over 50 years, and he’s somewhat of a local celebrity (check out his special order at the T-Room next time you’re there).
Randall recently decided to retire, but not to worry – the shop is being left in the capable hands of his son, daughter and wife to keep everything running smoothly. With their new addition of a customer waiting room, office space and kitchen, they’ll be ready to serve the LYH community for years to come.
Arthur Pike is well versed in the local business community – he and his company, Signs By Tomorrow, have assisted many an organization with making sure their names and logos are visible and memorable. Located in a shop off of Langhorne Road, it was time to expand some of their working space and make room for more office space.
But Arthur didn’t want this to just be any improvement; he wanted to make this a community effort. Since signs are their specialty, he and his team utilized a unique process to take local artists’ work, enlarge it and put it in their front window. From the inside of the shop, it’s still bright and sunny, but from the outside, each month you can see a different local artist’s renderings. June’s artwork showcased Steven Kissel, and July’s is showing Meg Davies. Make sure to stop by next time you’re in the area and scan the QR code to learn about that month’s local feature artist!
How to Apply
Applying for the Local Redevelopment Program couldn’t be easier! If a property or business owner pulls a building permit of $25,000 or more, they are automatically included in our list of potential applicants. We review each property in advance to ensure that it meets all qualifications, then send the application to you directly. The program runs from March 1st – February 28th each year, with applications being due by May 1st for work done in that time period. Applications are reviewed and scored, and awards are distributed in the month of June each year.
If you have any questions, please visit our webpage or reach out to our Economic Development Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.