Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Downtown sprucing up in time for center's opening

Small businesses around the soon-to-be-opened Utah Valley Convention Center are dressing up their storefronts with paint, brick and mortar. Provo city has offered community development block grants to spruce up the area for the May 12 opening.

Richard Borget, owner of Dave's Bernina, said the city approached him with the opportunity. "They're making a $10,000 offer to make your business look better," he said. "We're in construction right now."
Borget said the process began in January. He has had to do everything from paperwork to meeting with historic preservation committees to make sure everything is done correctly.

Several businesses are taking advantage of the one-time money, according to the city's redevelopment office.
"This is a tremendous improvement in downtown Provo," said Richard Borget, owner of Dave's Bernina. "It's gotten rid of the oldest buildings' looks. There will be a clean atmosphere in downtown. I'm happy to be a part of it."

Through another program, the city is offering a flat $1,000 toward individual blade signs for storefronts. Jared Morgan, executive director of Downtown Provo Inc., said the blade signs alone will give downtown a more structured feel. "It will create a more unified downtown and give it a more community feel," Morgan said. He added the city has been working with companies to retrofit signs and bring them up to code and even identify antique signs and windows and enhance them. Morgan said you're even going to see a lot of new flower pots out in front of stores.

The influence of the new convention center, the Nu Skin building under construction, and the soon to be Provo City Center Temple has moved the upgrading of downtown to the forefront for not only the city but the business owners as well. Daily Herald