The ongoing efforts to continue growth in downtown Sumrall just received a huge boost in the form of a $50,000 check from Mississippi Power that will allow the town to start a local façade grant program to aesthetically improve storefronts in that area.
Sabreya DeLancey, executive director of the Sumrall Main Street Association, said the funds will immensely help that organization’s goal of making the town more appealing to consumers and potential new business operators.
“We are super excited,” DeLancey said. “That is the biggest amount of money that we’ve had at Sumrall Main Street, and the projects that we’ll be able to do and offer to our local community is something that we never could have done on our own.
“So I’m very excited.”
The Sumrall Main Street Association will soon form a committee, which will be tasked with forming an application process to review and select façade grant winners. The committee is expected to select 10 businesses that will be awarded up to $5,000 each to improve the exteriors of their storefronts.
“It will be a match grant,” DeLancey said. “(The committee) will decide all the details, and how to apply and where to apply.
“So that’s something we’ll be able to do this year. The committee is starting right now to get formed, and we hope to have applications up by the summer at the absolute latest. (We want to) start handing out money before the next quarter. They’ll have all the details up on our website, so we can point people to that.”
Façade improvements can include such measures as painting, visible roof improvements, repair or replacement of original building materials, or decorative details. Also in the mix is the addition of architectural details that enhance the building, replacing or adding doors, windows, awnings, signage, lighting and other similar options.
“We’re working out the details of what all could be included, but in general, we are open to discussing anything that is an external, visual improvement of their building or their business,” DeLancey said. “That could be signage, it could be an awning, it could be replacing something that has been damaged.
“It could be adding a new architectural detail. There’s really no limit on what that could be; as long as it’s a visual improvement of their building.”
DeLancey said the funds will be a huge help to not only improve the appearance of the town, but to improve the quality of life there.
“Coming out of COVID and the pandemic in general, our local business owners suffered through that,” she said. “So we hope this kind of gives them not only the financial support, but momentum – like ‘hey, we’re here behind you; we’re here to help you.’
“We see what this could bring, not only bringing consumers back in, but upping the property values, and making it so that their businesses can still thrive and stay opened.”