Albemarle program awards grants

The City of Albemarle’s Downtown Catalyst Grant Committee has approved its second round of grant recipients totaling $87,500.

The Downtown Catalyst Grant Program assists businesses in the downtown municipal service district by offering grants to fund facade and/or building stabilization improvements as well as internal improvements including furniture, fixtures and equipment used in the business. The goal of the City’s Downtown Catalyst Grant Program is to strengthen investment in downtown Albemarle’s historic infrastructure.

The City of Albemarle Downtown Catalyst Grant program represents a public/private partnership. The City of Albemarle funded the program’s initial $50,000. Uwharrie Bank contributed $20,000 and the Albemarle Downtown Development Corporation (ADDC) also contributed $20,000.

Grants were awarded to the following recipients:

• Ritchie Hearne – (facade restoration) 131 N. 2nd St. – $27,500;

• GHA Autism Supports – (patio addition at Second Street Sundries) 221 N. 2nd St. – $20,000;

• Larry McGuire Realty – (roof repair and commercial glass doors) 219 W. Main St. – $10,000;

• John Williams – (building redevelopment) corner of 2nd and Montgomery streets – $15,000; and

• Wil Huneycutt – (roof and windows replacement) 216 W. Main St. – $15,000.

A seven-member committee, chaired by Councilman Chris Whitley, reviewed and approved grant applications based on the program’s guidelines found here.

“Our grant committee is grateful to all applicants who took the time and energy to participate in this program. Thanks to the hard work of our volunteer grant committee and city staff, we were able to select worthy applicants that followed the guidelines of the program and make efficient use of the funds available,” said Grant Committee Chairman and Councilman Chris Whitley. “Special thanks to the City of Albemarle, Uwharrie Bank and the Albemarle Downtown Development Corporation. The Downtown Catalyst Grant Program would not be possible without their financial support.”

From left, front row: Albemarle Economic Development Director Lindsey Almond, City Councilman and Grant Committee Chairman Chris Whitley, Lori Ivey (representing grant recipient GHA Autism Supports, Albemarle Main Street Manager Joy Almond, Taylor London (representing grant recipient Larry McGuire Realty); back row: Jason Andrew, Uwharrie Bank; Albemarle Assistant City Manager Darren Rhodes, John Williams (grant recipient); Pam Poplin, Albemarle Downtown Development Corporation. (Contributed)

The City of Albemarle’s Downtown Catalyst Grant program originated in Strategic Planning Sessions involving staff and elected officials. The program aligns with the City’s Strategic Plan goal of community and economic growth opportunities.

“We’ve seen incredible progress in downtown Albemarle just in the past few years. Public/private partnerships, like the Downtown Catalyst Grant Program, provide continued support for transformational action in our community,” said Lindsey Almond, Albemarle economic development director. “Multiple entities are working together and pulling in the same direction for the benefit of our downtown, businesses, and residents.”

The City of Albemarle’s Downtown Catalyst Grant Program began in 2022 with support from Uwharrie Bank.

“The founding mission of our bank was to invest back in our communities. We are happy to have a small part of continuing the positive momentum in our downtown district,” said Jason Andrew, chief operations officer of Uwharrie Bank.

The Albemarle Downtown Development Corporation also supported the Downtown Catalyst Grant Program since its inception.

“We are a proud partner with the City and Uwharrie Bank on this grant program assisting our downtown business owners,” said Joy Almond, Albemarle main street manager. “The Downtown Catalyst Grant Program fits right in with our mission to aid and promote the redevelopment, improvement, beautification and revitalization of downtown Albemarle.”

The City of Albemarle’s Downtown Catalyst Grant Program will take applications for another round of grants in the spring of 2024.