Rocky Mount has an aging downtown and many neglected buildings, but a city official is quick to point out the municipal government has financial incentives to help stimulate rehabilitation efforts. City Business Development Director Kevin Harris spoke about three such programs in place at a downtown revitalization seminar at the Booker T. Theater earlier this week. Municipal officials apparently want to re-generate interest in upgrading the central business district. Harris said the city has the Downtown Building Assistance Grant Program. Additionally, Harris said the city can offer accelerated facade grants and downtown development incentive grants. Harris said the Downtown Building Assistance Grant Program offers a refund of 50 percent of the cost of improvements, up to a maximum of $20,000. He said the grant not only can help with the cost of improving a building but also can aid an on-going business by helping fund the costs of equipment and signage. He also pointed out the city wants to encourage residential development downtown, so the grant can be used to help a commercial or a mixed-use location.
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