By Tony Parra
City councilors on Tuesday approved to fund a program which would help downtown businesses in the development of facades.
Councilors approved to give the Portales MainStreet Facade Improvement Program $5,000 during the city meeting. The program allows for business owners in the downtown area to apply for a grant of up to $2,500 for improvements to the front of their buildings.
City officials received $5,000 in the sale of a property on 301 S. Ave. A., which is in the downtown area. The property was sold to Eric Dixon, a Portales attorney, who wants to renovate the building and use it for his law firm offices, according to the proposal. The purchase of the property was approved by councilors during the March 1 meeting.
Stephen Doerr, city attorney, said the last business to receive a $2,500 grant was Big League Sports and the facade of the building was redone with the help of the grant. Doerr said awarding of the grant took place within the last year.
“Several people asked about facade improvements,” Mayor Orlando Ortega said about the business development workshops held during January and February. “It’s a great program.”
Doerr said Portales MainStreet Organization members helped raise money for the program through private donations and fund-raisers. Ortega said there is no money left in the fund.
Councilors also approved to have a zoning change from single-family housing units to multi-family units on property located on 300 E. 9th Str. next to the city park, on the south side of the city park.
Larry Combs, owner of Combs properties, said he plans to build two tri-plex multi-family apartments facing each other. Combs said he owns two lots and plans to build three units on each lot.
“He has been making improvements in the city,” Ortega said. “He’s taking old apartments and improving them.”
Combs said there is a duplex on the property which is 40 years old. He said he plans to demolish the duplex and build new tri-plex units. Combs said he plans to begin demolition of the duplex by September and hopes to have the new multi-family units built by February of 2006.
There was no opposition to the proposed zoning changes by any neighbors near the 300 E. Ninth St. property. during planning and zoning meetings or during the city meeting.