Two Businesses Awarded Rensselaer Facade Improvement Grant

Two Businesses Awarded Rensselaer Facade Improvement Grant

Two Businesses have been awarded funding in the second round of the Rensselaer Façade Improvement Grant.

Earth Magic Body Potions at 120 W Washington St and Shanley Construction Apartments at 226 E Washington St, were both awarded funds.

The total amount available to be awarded each cycle is $25,000. Earth Magic had the most competitive application and so they were awarded the total amount they requested, $17,504.36. Shanley Construction also had a very good application and so the committee felt that the remaining funds should be awarded to them, said Sara DeYoung, Executive Director of Jasper County Economic Development Organization.

Earth Magic plans to use the funds for updating the front of the building with paint and trim work, including a storefront sign and new awning.

Earth Magic Body Potions awarded Facade Grant. From Left: Sara DeYoung JCEDO, Jessica Call (City of Rensselaer) Emily & Andrea Kaluza (Earth Magic Body Potions).

Earth Magic purchased its current location in 2023 and has done extensive work to the exterior and interior of the building since that time. They opened in the fall of 2023 with their handmade natural body products and clean food and drinks.

Shanley Construction purchased the historic property at the corner of 231 and McKinley Ave in 2022. The home had been vacant for decades. The grant funds awarded to Shanley will be used for repairing the front columns of the porch and the trim. Jim Shanley, owner of Shanley Construction, said after decades of the house just sitting many of the historical details were lost, but they are working to restore the many fireplaces in the home. The property is being renovated into commercial apartments.

Businesses in downtown Rensselaer are encouraged to apply for the Façade Improvement Grant. The total grant award each cycle is up to $25,000 for up to 50% of the project cost. It focuses on funding improvements to the exterior of a property such as paint, windows, trim signage, lighting and stairs.

The grant is administered by JCEDO with funds from the Rensselaer Redevelopment Commission. DeYoung said the Façade Grant is a group effort.

We are happy to be a part of the City of Rensselaer and the Redevelopment Commission’s vision for a more beautiful and vibrant downtown. This grant and the collaboration behind it, demonstrates what is possible when government leaders, administrative staff, and organizations such as JCEDO work together.”

Shanley Construction was awarded the Rensselaer Facade Improvement Grant. Funds will be used on the exterior of the apartment complex at 226 E Washington, Rensselaer

Jasper County Economic Development (JCEDO), in collaboration with the City of Rensselaer Building Department, worked together to create a Facade Grant Program, an identified need listed in the 2023 City of Rensselaer Comprehensive Plan.

Applications are available through the JCEDO website ( Jasper County Economic Development Office and the City of Rensselaer Building Department. Applications will be taken quarterly from the building owners, lease holders or tenants within the 4 block radius of downtown Rensselaer. Located in our B-3 Zoning District, parameters cover Angelica St to Rutsen St and McKinley Ave to Front St.  Each applicant can apply for $5k to $25k, but not to exceed half of the total project cost.

More information can be found here:

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