Downtown Sun Prairie is going to get a more polished look with nearly $15,000 in grants to help local businesses improve building exteriors.

Painting, new gutters, and other improvements will be made to the building at 227-229 E. Main Street.

Owner Rick Krebs said the building has been in his family since 1910 and was a funeral home in the past but now is the home to Razor Sharp Screen Printing and Wisconsin Apparel Company.

Krebs was approved for a $4,952 Facade Improvement Grant by the Downtown Business Improvement District (BID) Board on Thursday, June 6.

The program finances projects to improve the appearance and character of the downtown revitalization area.

BID member Rose Freidel was excited about the work.

“I think that this is awesome,” Freidel said.

Just across the street, the buildings at 240 and 242 E. Main St. will get a new storefront, fabric awnings, and other major improvements. The BID Board approved $10,000 for the two projects that will cover a fraction of the remodeling costs.

Kelly B. Thompson of KONTEXT architects said some of the historical details lost over the last century will be restored to the 242 E. Main St. building, including cornices and awnings. The buildings are owned by Mitch Gurfield of Madison, according to the application.

Both buildings are currently vacant but there’s hope that an office, retail or restaurant may come in some day.

“Completing this facade, will go a long way to better attract possible tenants,” Thompson told BID Board members at the June 6 meeting.

The Facade Improvement Grant provides 50 percent of reimbursement for exterior improvements of commercial buildings in the downtown Sun Prairie BID district. The maximum grant is $5,000. The program is funded from the Tax Increment District (TID) 8. The Sun Prairie City Council gets the final OK on projects.

Right Bauer Brewing received a $3,200 grant from the program this year.

Economic Development Specialist Taylor Brown said the program hasn’t been utilized much in recent years but a renewed interest could provide a larger budget in the future.

More information on the Facade Improvement Grant program can be found on the city website at www.cityofsunprairie.com .

Bicycle Benefits

Two-wheeled enthusiasts could have more incentive to come downtown with the launch of a Bicycle Benefits program.

For just $5, participants can buy a Bicycle Benefits sticker for their helmet and show it at participating businesses to get discounts on food, drink, retail items and services.

The program is nationwide and has found success in Madison with Bicycle Benefits helping to promote bike tours with stops at local participating businesses, such as breweries, bars, cafes and restaurants, said Christine Congdon from Sun Prairie Moves, the city’s bicycle advocacy group that is heading up the local program.

Downtown businesses that are interesting in participating can purchase a Bicycle Benefits starter packet for $20 that includes 10 stickers that sell for $5 each, decals, and other promotional items.

Once 10 or more businesses are on board, Bicycle Benefits will promote the Sun Prairie area with a map, app and other promotions.

BID member and Right Bauer Brewing owner Erica Beckman advocated for the program and urged others to get involved.

“We need everyone’s support to get this going,” Beckman told BID members.

For general information on the program, visit www.bicyclebenefits.org.

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