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News Eagle - Hawley, PA
  • Paint brushes to swing in March

  • Benjamin Moore & Co., the paint company that picked Hawley in a nationwide contest last year, plans to apply their paint this coming March to downtown businesses. The company is only doing the first floor -front of each selected building, but Hawley Council has a plan.
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  • Benjamin Moore & Co., the paint company that picked Hawley in a nationwide contest last year, plans to apply their paint this coming March to downtown businesses. The company is only doing the first floor -front of each selected building, but Hawley Council has a plan.
    At the December 11th Council meeting, they agreed to apply for a state grant that would provide funds for the rest of the building facade. Depending on the full cost, the property owner may not have to pay a thing, or pay only the remainder.
    James Martin, the Borough's grants consultant, said that the PA Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED), which provides the facade grant money, looks for a 50/50 match. The grant would pay up to $5,000 for each property. A similar match worth $5,000 would be required. Martin said that DCED would accept an in-kind contribution of labor and materials, which would be provided by Benjamin Moore free to the property owner.
    Benjamin Moore estimates spending an average of $5,000 on each selected commercial property. That's enough for the match.
    As an example, if the company's estimate to do the first floor came to $4,000, then the state would provide a $4,000 match. If the estimate to finish the front was higher, say $9,000, then the owner would be responsible for $1,000.
    Pending approval of the Borough solicitor, the Borough is applying for a $75,000 grant from DCED. That's an equivalent of painting the upper floors of 15 buildings if each owner needed the full $5,000 match.
    Martin said they met with Benjamin Moore representatives about a month ago. He had also consulted with DCED and expressed confidence that the state agency is "on board." The application for the state money must be filed by January 17.
    Downtown Hawley Partnertship (DHP) will administer the grant but the Borough needs to apply for it. Council wants to ensure that the language of the agreement does not make the Borough liable for the money.
    If a project requires more funds to finish, Martin said they can apply for an amended grant.
    The limitation by Benjamin Moore of only painting the first story facade took them by surprise, but the idea came to apply for the state grant. Martin said that this is the same facade grant program that aided in improving the exteriors of several downtown commercial structures in the last couple years.
    Simon Knox, manager of DHP, said that Benjamin Moore plans to paint properties of willing owners on the 200 and 300 blocks of Main Avenue. If there is money left over they are open to extending the program to commercial properties on Keystone and Church Streets.
    Hawley was selected by Benjamin Moore as one of 200 small to medium-size towns across the United States and Canada to participate in the Main Street Matters promotion. Early in 2012, DHP was contacted by the company to ask if the town would like to participate. It was thought that local business people had nominated Hawley. An on-line voting competition took place in May and June, and through word of mouth, social and print media, many votes were cast for Hawley.
    Page 2 of 2 - Knox said that Benjamin Moore wants to do pre-work and community meetings starting the first week of February 2014. Before that, the company will be talking with individual property owners about having their building done.
    The company will arrange for the bid specifications, but were asked to get them for the upper floors as well, in anticipation for the state grant, Martin said.
    "Religious, political and national brand" structures are not eligible. Knox said that PNC Bank would not fit because of its statewide affiliation. He said the Fallsport Inn might not fit in the scope due to masonry work that would have to be done first.
    Owners would have two options- receive a whole new paint scheme with consultation by company engineers, or refresh the paint scheme they already use. The company will also provide power washing and some minor repairs in lieu of painting.
    The intent is to hire local painting contractors.
    An on-site visit is planned March 3rd. A public relations kick-off event is scheduled March 17. Benjamin Moore wants to finish with a community celebration on March 31.
    Questions were raised about being able to do the painting in March, when the weather can still be cold and wintery. Knox said that Benjamin Moore is on a tight timetable to complete all their towns by June when they will start their next round of the Main Street Matters competition. He said that the company has seven other towns north of Hawley that also still must finish by June.

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