Magnolia Community Development Corporation Launches Business Improvement Grant Program

Magnolia businesses could now get financial assistance to beautify their stores with the launch of a new matching grant program launched by the Magnolia 4B Community Development Corporation.

The 2022 business improvement grant program was approved at the 4B CDC board meeting on Feb. 10 and reimburses approved projects with 50% of their cost up to $5,000, paid from proceeds sales tax.

These grants, if approved by CDC 4B and the Magnolia City Council, could be used to pay for four different categories: signage, facade improvements, general site improvements, and demolition.

This is the second time CDC 4B has tried a grant program, executive director Rachel Steele said, the first being a smaller one that worked about 10 years ago but saw interest wane. This is reviewed and updated, and she said the current growth in Magnolia’s business environment led to its creation.

“Businesses are starting to look at Magnolia to move in, they want help with a few small things and it’s a great way to welcome new interest and support our long haulers who have been with us for decades in the community,” Steele said. “It’s something for everyone.”

The previous grant program only applied to a particular neighborhood, she said, while this new program will apply to the entire city.

“You don’t have to be on the boardwalk or on the west side, it’s not geographically specific,” Steele said.

The new program could help businesses fix issues like driveways, which she says often have issues like potholes, or could be used to update the paint on the exterior of the building. business or get a new panel, among other possibilities.

No applications have yet been considered, as the program was just approved a week ago, but Steele said he has sent in 15 applications so far. CDC 4B is accepting applications on a rolling basis through September.

“Now is the time to get the word out and we have until the end of September to really give companies the time they need to identify the project, run budget numbers, talk to us. They will have to comply with the city’s design and zoning guidelines and all such development guidelines.

Between five and seven grant applications will be accepted this year depending on the pool of applicants and their interest, she said.

“We’d love to hear from the community if this is a project we should bring back and hopefully get some public feedback as well,” she said. “We want to find the right programs that will support our businesses.”

This new program comes after substantial growth and development at Magnolia, including the expansion of FM 1488 and a large amount of Eastside development. Steele said she was optimistic about Magnolia’s future.

“I think Magnolia is just a great place to find right now, there’s a lot of opportunity if you want to build your own building, move into offices, move into our industrial parks,” Steele said. “There are so many opportunities, and if you’re looking for space, Magnolia is definitely the place to look.”

Grant applications will be reviewed at CDC Board meetings, so applicants should submit them by the 15th of the month to put them on the agenda for the following month for consideration.

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Norma P. Rex