Emerson Hoagland

Reedsport Main Street Coordinator Emerson Hoagland shows off exterior work that business owner Tommy Starner did to a new shop of theirs. With Starner's in kind labor plus money from Main Street funds, Starner and his wife Rosa Solano were able to bring their project to reality. Hoagland and other city officials are hosting the town's first Main Street Grant Forum Oct. 18 at City Hall.

REEDSPORT — Merchants who want money for remodeling purposes are encouraged to attend the first ever Main Street Grant Forum Oct. 18.

Main Street Coordinator Emerson Hoagland said the event will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Reedsport City Hall council chambers, 451 Winchester Ave.

Hoagland assumed the role of Reedsport coordinator after Erik Hesseling left to take a planning job with the city of Cottage Grove.

"It's a flexible program," Hoagland emphasized. "We're working to make it more flexible."

He said a business manager may say "'this is what I need to make it successful' and then we'll see what we can do.'"

"To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time we've done something like this," Hoagland said, adding that "we are trying to reach every business in the city. Not just Old Town."

The Reedsport Main Street Program belongs to Oregon Main Street, which is a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The new Main Street Coordinator said the idea of the forum came from City Manager Jonathan Wright "and we discussed it at our board meeting this last Tuesday so it gives us just a couple of weeks."

Organizers also want to reach businesses in the uptown area up by Schofield Creek.

"We're also trying to get the Winchester Bay area," Hoagland said. He emphasized that under the terms of the Main Street program, Main Street business remodeling dollars would be currently limited to Old Town in Reedsport but volunteers and others are trying to see what they can do to work with business owners in the fishing community.

"We're hoping to get some leaflets done in the next couple of weeks," the Main Street coordinator said.

"The standard grant package is a one to one match of about $2,500," Hoagland noted. "But it's been flexible."

So for example, one Reedsport business owner applied for a grant of $235 and then another set of merchants, Tommy Starner and Rosa Solano, who own the Butterfly Effect and will open another business, applied for an $8,482 grant. In the case of the couple, they provided $1,735 of out-of-pocket expenses and then $2,639 through materials and work. The specific location is 439 Fir Ave. just down the street from the Post Office.

Merchants must provide some sort of in-kind labor as part of the match.

Speaking at City Hall, Hoagland smiled excitedly of Starner's and Solano's efforts at their second business, located at Fir. He was pleased with what he's seen so far on the façade.

"It does (look good). Oh it just looks fabulous," he said. "That's exactly what it's all about."

For other merchants, their challenges aren't necessarily with a new façade. Their buildings may have leaking roofs and so Hoagland said the aim is to "try to make the grant more customizable" and finding out how best city officials -- working closely with shop owners -- can tailor a Main Street grant.

More merchants are hearing of Main Street, having heard of the façade improvement opportunities.

"At the end of the day, the main thing here is creating better relationships with businesses," he said.

"We want people to know the opportunities that are out there," he said.

If you'd like more information about the forum or Main Street dollars, contact Hoagland at mainstreet@cityofreedsport.org or by calling 541-271-3603, extension six.

The Umpqua Post Editor Shelby Case can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 296 or shelby.case@theworldlink.com.

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