Grants aim to spruce up business facades

Suzette Lowe

The outside of a business can play a major factor in attracting customers to come inside. A well-designed sign, landscaping, fresh paint or some other creative addition can make a great difference.

The Jackson County Development Authority (JCDA) is offering a chance for 10 businesses to ‘spruce up’ their façade.

A Downtown Exterior Beautification Program grant will provide $1,500 each for five businesses in the city limits of Ravenswood and five in the limits of Ripley.

Interested business owners should contact the JCDA by email and explain how they would use the money if awarded. If the business is renting the space, written permission from the building’s owner is required.

Once the grant is given, the business has three months to complete the project, showing before and after pictures. Receipts for purchases must be provided.

“It’s also a requirement that materials used be purchased from Jackson County businesses,” said Mark Whitely, JCDA director. “We are trying to support local business all the way through the grant process. It is rare that materials and workmanship can’t be found in the county. If that is the case, then approval for purchase must be given by the JCDA.”

Any previous beautification program grant recipients are not eligible.

The selection committee for both cities will have a member of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce and the JCDA. In addition, Ripley’s committee will include its mayor and a representative of Main Street Ripley, while Ravenswood will include its mayor and a representative from the Ravenswood Development Authority.

For more information, email the development authority at or call 304-372-1151. Deadline for submission is April 30 at noon.