Editorial: City’s business grant program big boost for Craig | CraigDailyPress.com

Editorial: City’s business grant program big boost for Craig

Bargain Barn, as part of the Victory Building on the corner of Yampa Avenue and Victory Way, is among the local businesses seeing exterior improvements.
Andy Bockelman

On some weekends, there was hardly a soul in downtown Craig. Sundays were especially quiet and sometimes still are. But, all that is changing.

There’s an excitement in the air. A new look for several businesses, a newly remodeled brewery are beginning to bring a sense something is on the horizon in downtown Craig.

For decades, the city of Craig and others have grappled with how to best revitalize the aging business facades and empty buildings that dot Craig’s historied downtown. Money was appropriated and grants were applied for and received. Sometimes a few businesses would bite on a few improvements. Sometimes they backed out entirely. For a good while, things were quiet.

Craig Press Editorial Board

Renee Campbell, publisher

Clay Thorp, reporter

Pete Pleasant, community representative

Desiree Moore, community representative

Contact the Editorial Board at editor@CraigDailyPress.com.

Then in March, the city of Craig unveiled its new business grant program wherein applicants could get their hands on a matching grant for façade improvements, building upgrades, or money for hiring extra workers. The applications started coming in — Eyecare Specialties on Pershing Street, Action Services on Mack Lane, the Victory Building at the corner of Yampa Avenue and Victory Way, Sundrop Custom Framing, and Downtown Books next door — all awarded money to help beautify businesses and provide upgrades that many small businesses might never have been able to afford.

In all, the city gave away some $50,000 to some of Craig’s small businesses. The program was so successful, the city decided to double the allotted amount for the program and recently decided to help several more small businesses — including Craig’s new brewery, The Barrel Cathedral.

City officials deserve major credit for accomplishing a goal many thought lofty — attracting Craig’s small businesses into investing some major dollars into its aging business zones. City Manager Peter Brixius and many city councilors new and old also deserve praise for spearheading the initiative in a way that got businesses on board.

But, there’s still much work to be done and some on council seem wary to continue spending the allotted money to help Craig’s small businesses. We hope the city keeps its new business grant program strong and expands it to be inclusive of new ventures in new industries — not just existing ones. $100,000 each year seems like a lot, but when that money is spread wide across small business ventures in Craig, that money stays here and grows here. It helps customers here. It helps mom and pop shops provide services here, raise their families here, stay here to love our community, and we should all support that.

Pete Pleasant abstained from this week’s editorial as he is partial owner of at least one business applying for the city’s program. Desiree Moore was unable to attend this week’s editorial board.

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