$15,000 total earmarked

by: Photo by Tony Ahern - Brandon Searcy, of Impact Graphics, puts up a new sign at Vision Source in downtown Madras. Owner, optometrist Jessica Tegen, had the building painted an eye-catching vivid yellow with black trim, with help from the MRC grant.

   A city urban renewal district grant program has led to a late summer boom in building painting in downtown Madras.
   The Madras Redevelopment Commission Paint Program -- allowing businesses within the urban renewal district to obtain paint grants -- has spurred six projects since late August. More are expected.
   Through the grant, Madras Vision Center has put a drop of sunshine onto its Fifth Street location with bright yellow paint highlighted by black trim; Discount Carpet has donned a deep red at its Fourth Street location; and Snow Cleaners, a Fourth and G streets business since the 1950s, has spruced up its look.
   Other businesses that have received paint grants are Apex Physical Therapy, Ahern Properties (Madras Professional Building), and Camille Hall-Mendoza. Two other grant requests were initiated after the original six -- Dancing Beans Coffee and Heart of Oregon Corps -- but they have yet to be approved by the MRC.
   The commission has earmarked $15,000 for these paint grants. Grants are for up to $1,500, and the funds can be used to buy paint or paint supplies. So far, about $6,400 has been awarded.
   The grant funds must be spent at a Madras business, either Bi-Mart, Madras Paint and Glass, Phil's Ace Hardware or Miller Lumber.
   Grant applications are available at city hall, 71 S.E. D St. The form asks for the total estimated cost of the project, amount of grant funding sought and the expected project start and finish date. The form also asks for current photographs of the building proposed for improvement; samples of the colors planned; and a list of proposed items needed to complete the project.
   Grants will be made on a first-come, first-served basis. Any property within the urban renewal district -- which essentially runs the commercial zone from the south end of the city limits to the north -- is eligible for a grant.
   For further details, call the Madras Community Development Department at 541-475-3388.
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