Longtime building and business owners in one of Woodburn’s more blighted areas now have access to funding that could help them fix up their buildings and properties.

That funding became available when the Woodburn City Council, acting as the Urban Renewal Agency, voted to extend the city’s Grant and Loan program to include the Young Street/Highway 99E corridor.

A couple of business and building owners on Highway 99E have expressed interest in the program, which provides matching grants of $10,000 for exterior and $5,000 for interior projects. So far, 15 grants have been extended downtown, said Jim Hendryx, economic and development services director for the city.

The program also provides $25,000 in low-interest loans, which have not been utilized, Hendryx said.

“It’s really going to help people address the needs of their buildings, improve their buildings and go further with their business than they could before because it frees up cash,” he said.

The area is part of the Urban Renewal District, which finances the program through tax increments from assessed value of properties over time.

Two business owners in the 99E/Young Street area have expressed interest in the program.

Larry Jolly, owner of the Arctic Circle restaurant, said the grant could help him do work that has been put off due to a bearish economy.

“It’s not enough, but every little bit helps,” Jolly said. “I have more things to do than money is available.”

Jolly’s projects include: new sheet rock for his walls and tiling on his floors, which would replace wood paneling and carpet, respectively, he said.

The restaurant has been in its current location since 1970, Jolly said.

“I’m not even sure what’s under the carpet and I’ve been here 25 years,” he said.

Other improvements could include replacement windows and sealing work done on the parking lot, he said.

The building and its front parking lot have needed repairs for several years, but the slow economy has made doing anything difficult, Jolly said.

“You want to do something,” he said. “But it’s tough when you’re just scraping by.”

Across the highway from Arctic Circle, Dale Nelson, owner of Nelson Financial & Estate Planning, Inc., would like to do new carpeting, painting and installing of replacement windows as part of this planned $15,000 remodel project, he said.

The project would help Nelson “freshen things up” for his two employees and would make the building more inviting for customers, he said.

“If they’re going to be matching the money, why not do it?” he said.

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