Capitol City Facelift on Main St.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) — The City of Columbia’s Department of Community Development has a deal on the table for downtown property owners and tenants.  Apply for a five-year forgivable loan through the Commercial Facade Improvement Program and update the facades of their businesses.

Some downtown merchants are all in, while others think it’s a waste of time. Robin Roland is all for it.

“If it looks good on the outside,  I think it would bring more people inside,” said Robin Roland of Jeff Morris Furniture and Appliance.  “All the stores need a facelift.”

However, Roselen Rivkin of Mark’s Department Store isn’t sold.

“If it’s too expensive, it’s hard to do these days,” said Rivkin.  “It’s a good deal if you can go through all the problems of getting to it.”

Qualified applicants would have to clear their creative ideas with a design team appointed by the City of Columbia.  And then there are the architects and the bidding process.  Columbia’s downtown business district is the first targeted area of the program, but officials don’t want it to be the last. They plan to expand to include other parts of the city.

For more information on applying to participate in the Commercial Facade Improvement Program, call or stop by the City Planning Office, 1136 Washington St., 3rd FL, Columbia, or call 803-545-3222.