by Lisa Tome
The corner of Perryville's Aiken Avenue and Broad Street has a new look.
The businesses in that small strip center are undergoing a renovation project that's changing the look of the downtown business district.
Part of the funding for that facade project came through a state Community Legacy Grant. The rest will come by way of a Town of Perryville administered grant.
Grant money has been paying for upgrades at both commercial and residential properties in Perryville.
For about three years, the Town of Perryville has offered Revitalization Grants funded with VLT (video lottery terminal - casino) money.
The 2014 Revitalization Grant amount is $25,865.
Perryville town administrator Denise Breder said the grants to improve the looks of properties has been embraced by those who want to upgrade a building's exterior. The way the program works is that the property owner gets approvals for the work. They then spend the money and receive reimbursement. Breder said more than a dozen property owners have upgraded roofs, windows, porches, landscaping and more.
"It's a great program and people are taking advantage of it," said Breder.
Approval has been recommended for a pair of Front Street homes. That grant for $14,085, will pay for siding, porch and front steps, paint, gutter replacement, and bringing the roof up to code.
Another recommended approval is for windows, a roof, and installation of a wheelchair ramp at a home on Aiken Avenue. The cost of that project is $10,800.
VLT money doesn't only pay for upgrades, it also helps to pay for programs and equipment.
In fiscal year 2014, a town VLT grant committee has determined how $1.2 million will be distributed. That committee includes Perryville finance director Racheal Deaner, Planning and Zoning coordinator Diana Battaglia, and assistant town administrator Cathy McCardell.
Recent grant recipients include Perryville High School which received $10,550 for blocking sleds for football training. Restore Church received $5,000 to help fund a huge community Easter egg hunt. Chesapeake Feline Association received $1,450 to continue various services for the town's feral cat problem.
An additional $3,000 grant is pending for Restore Church. That money will go towards paying for a CRAVE addiction group program. It is pending because it needs to be determined where in Perryville the addiction meetings will be held.