Downtown facade project gets extension

Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail

Adrian Design GroupBy Bob Wheaton
ADRIAN, Mich. —

As several downtown buildings get facelifts, the city has received an extension for completion of its facade project and is hoping to expand it.

The state Vibrant Small Cities grant that the city received for the project was to expire at the end of 2009, but officials last week were granted a four-month extension, said Chris Atkin, the city’s director of community development.

Work at the H&R Block building, 149 S. Main St., is nearly complete, while improvements are continuing at Joe Anne Steele Insurance, 130 N. Main St., and Copeland Furniture, 136-140 N. Main St.

Work began recently at the Barley House Tavern, 113 E. Maumee St.

The former Robert Jewelers, 116-120 S. Main St., which is also undergoing facade improvements, could be converted into apartments with a downtown rental rehabilitation grant from the state, Atkin said.

Business owners said they’re hoping the facade improvements will draw more people downtown, along with the recent conversion of Main Street totwo-way traffic.

“If the economy starts ticking up, and with the two-way traffic, and once we get this done, I think it can only work for the good,” said Joe Ann Steele, owner of Steele Insurance, which is getting fresh paint and new windows.

Copeland Furniture owner Brian Copeland agreed, although he said the city also needs to attract more businesses downtown.

A blue corrugated metal sign on the front of Copeland’s store was removed, exposing its original facade.

“It’s been neat,” Copeland said. “Old-timers have stopped in here that remember what it used to look like before that blue sign went up (in the 1960s).”

Atkin said the city is seeking state approval of expanding the project to include 105 E. Church St. behind H&R Block, which has an upstairs apartment with a first-floor studio.

The Adrian City Commission has approved more than $220,000 in bids for the facade project. The state is paying 50 percent of the cost and the city’s Downtown Development Authority and the property owners are each paying 25 percent.

In addition to that, an undetermined amount of additional money will be spent as a result of change orders that include using composites to replicate the original architecture of the front of Copeland Furniture, Atkin said.

The change orders and rainy weather made the four-month extension necessary, he said.

Adrian Design Group is the project architect and Campbell-Durocher Group of Erie is doing the work.