Streator's facade grant program may have its first returnee.
Ronald Ondek, owner of 121 and 125 N. Park St. also known as the Parkway Club tavern and former Canale real estate building, received a recommendation from the Streator Plan Commission for another facade grant as the business continues work on opening a restaurant.
The grant, for the maximum allowed $15,000, would go towards the installation of awnings at both locations as well as tuckpointing and new signs for the former Canale building. The restaurant will occupy the former Canale space and be known as Sticks and Stone, per the sign renderings in plan commission documents.
The owner previously went before the council to receive a grant for window replacement work in 2016. The recommendation will go before the city council before being given out.
A proposed policy change was added to the plan commission agenda that relates to future repeat users of the facade grant program.
Facade grants can be used on buildings that do not currently house an active business, but the new policy states if a building owner seeks a second facade grant for an unoccupied building the city will pay 50 percent of the reimbursement if the property owner plans to open the business in six months or less. The remaining 50 percent will be paid to the owner after the new business has been open for one month.
Plan commission member Bob Gubbels expressed concern the policy might work against the program’s goal of improving the look of downtown Streator
“Not everyone can get it done in the first phase, so it might have to take two phases. Some of these buildings are in fairly bad shape and it’s going to cost a little,” Gubbels said. “My feeling is it’s a detriment to the progress that is going on. We want to continue to see that progress.”
Chairman Doug Patterson said he doesn’t believe the policy will discourage anyone from applying for the program in the future as owners still will get the full amount from the program as long as the new business opens up, which is another goal of the program.
Patterson’s concern was repeat users may leave less money in the program for first-time owners.
City Manager Scot Wrighton will bring the policy before the City Council as well before it is implemented.
Works in progress
This facade grant is the 23rd approved since the program began in 2014. City Engineer Jeremy Plam presented a list of previous facades to the plan commission, with a majority of them being complete.
Work is ongoing at 212 E. Main and the Streator Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry with a completion date in spring and Flowers Plus with a completion date this summer. Work has yet to begin at the Majestic Theater, Chad Lucas State Farm Insurance, Gulo and Associates, Don’s Furniture, the former JCPenney building and the former Thrifty Drugs building.
A grant was previously given to Streator Upholstery but was later turned down after the applicant reviewed the final costs.