FARMINGTON — Selectmen unanimously approved amending the town’s Revolving Loan Fund plan this week to offer interest-free loans for facade improvements in the downtown Village Business Historic District.
The change is intended to spur the interest of owners who want to preserve and improve the appearance of their downtown businesses, Town Manager Richard Davis told the board.
The fund was developed to promote economic well being, stimulate job creation and expand business ownership opportunities, encourage use of vacant buildings, stimulate investment in renovation and conservation of small business space and supplement other traditional financing.
The fund normally loans up to $25,000 at 5 percent interest for up to 10 years for projects such as business start-ups, expansions or renovations, acquisitions of property or purchases of equipment. Interest rates remain the same except for facade improvement loans.
Applicants for the loans need to be property owners or residents of Farmington or owners of businesses within the town.
The fund currently has about $80,000, enough for two or three loans or more smaller loans, Davis said. The amount set aside by the town has grown from previous interest charges on loans. The town administers the loan through a review board consisting of five residents.
The funds were originally part of the downtown revitalization project from the 1980s, he said.
A vibrant downtown is a good way for the area to stay fresh and inviting, said Alison Hagerstrom of Greater Franklin Development Corp. She was at the meeting to update selectmen on economic development activities in Farmington, and tourism.