NEW ALBANY —
Over the past year, the New Albany Urban Enterprise Zone Association has handed out facade grants for 34 properties totaling more than $70,000.
A sizable chunk of that total was recently granted to Quills Coffee in order for the business to expand and remodel its Market Street location in downtown New Albany.
Quills garnered a $16,000 grant and also received an $8,000 loan from the UEZ.
Last year, the UEZ board voted to fire full-time Executive Director Michael Ladd and decided to leave the position vacant.
The city’s redevelopment department manages most of the UEZ business now.
City officials said overhead expenses were reduced from about $65,000 to $15,000 annually, and added the UEZ collected more than $110,000 last year.
The UEZ collects money from certain bank loans to businesses that fall within its zone boundaries. The New Albany UEZ essentially covers downtown and stretches toward Grant Line Road.
Officials said the UEZ’s 2012 collections were up by 175 percent from the prior year.
Since May of 2012, several downtown businesses have received facade grants including Feast BBQ, DP UpDogs, the Calumet Club, Resch Construction, Habana Blues and Sprigler Construction.
David Duggins, director of economic development and redevelopment for New Albany, said the UEZ board accepts grant requests from individuals and businesses located within the zone.
“The grant period is ongoing throughout the year, and is looked at by the board on an individual basis,” Duggins said. “Facade improvements, increased employment, historic preservation and increasing the economic vitality to the zone area are the criteria that the board critiques for projects.”
The grant and loan to Quills will allow the company to make improvements to the building to facilitate roasting, training, educational and warehousing processes, Duggins said.
The loan has a 2 percent interest and is for three years.
Last year, the UEZ allowed the Indiana Small Business Development Center to occupy its office space in the Elsby Building in downtown New Albany.
The UEZ supported the free partnership because of the connections the ISBDC has with local businesses, officials said.
“By being located in our downtown, the approximate 50 businesses that the ISBDC works with per year will have the potential of growing and taking up office or retail space in our downtown,” Duggins said.