Community Development News

Old Town Facade Program is catalyst for local investment
Published: Wednesday, November 12, 2014
By: Mark Mehmert

Notice anything unusual in Downtown Jefferson City recently?  No, I’m not talking about the choreography-afflicted zombies at the last Thursday Night Live!, although that would probably qualify as unusual. 

While these days it seems there are always projects going on Downtown, it’s worth noting that there are currently four--count ‘em, four--facade projects going on in the Downtown area right now. 

Two of the projects are on Madison Street.  Central Travel at 228 Madison street is undergoing an extensive facade improvement and remodel.  Just a couple of doors down, the recently opened Capital Region Downtown Urgent Care at 220 Madison St. is also getting a facelift. 

Rob Agee of Madison’s Cafe smiles when asked about the improvements.  “I’m really looking forward to the end results”, he said gesturing at the scaffolding on the front of both buildings.  We have had a great response to making improvements to our building’s facade.” 

Madison's Before Madison's After

Other Downtown facade projects include the former Mortimer Kegley’s at 115 East High St. and 308 Monroe Street. 

Why so many?  Well, one reason is many Downtown Jefferson City property owners understand the need for a welcoming and well-maintained building.  Secondly, while not all property owners use the program, the city encourages property investment by offering a facade improvement programfor Old Town.  Properties need to meet relatively stringent criteria to be eligible. 

Mike Moscato of River City Florist participated in the program.  “The facade program is really helpful in getting these types of projects off the ground”, he said.  “When compared to the total cost of improving a facade, it’s not a large amount.  Yet, it’s enough to get the ball rolling.” 

The program has also been used in the Old Munichburg area.  Contractor Jim Wisch of Wavco Construction worked on the rehab of nearly the entire 100 block of East Dunklin St.  “The facade program has been a big help in getting projects moving”, Wisch noted.  “I know it’s been well-received by Old Town property owners and it certainly helped our project.  Some of the buildings had been abandoned, but now they are really shining again.”

The Old Town facade program has leveraged over $2.6 million in private dollars, bringing a substantial number of marginal properties back to life and improving property values in Old Town. 

Instead of properties continuing to languish, buildings in the facade program have been brought back into productive use--and they act as a catalyst for still more improvements. 

 In the redevelopment arena, nothing happens in a vacuum.  Be it investment and growth or disinvestment and decline, both are contagious.  The facade program moves Old Town’s momentum toward investment and growth.    

If you have questions about the Old Town facade program, give us a call at the Chamber (634-3616) or contact Jayme Abbott, the Neighborhood Services Coordinator with the city at 634-6410.  

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