Jamboree pays off in improved building appearances

Sean C. Morgan

Of The New Era

Oregon Jamboree dollars have been at work the last couple of weeks helping to improve the appearance of the Sun Motel in the 3000 block of Highway 20.

The motel’s appearance is being upgraded and it is being repainted through a continuing grant program funded by Sweet Home Economic Development Group.

The new Sweet Home Area Revitalization Effort Planning Committee has taken over SHEDG’s façade improvement program.

The program started as part of SHEDG’s Revitalization Committee as an effort to assist local businesses with cost of improving their storefronts. SHARE was formed as part of SHEDG following a series of meetings earlier this year on revitalizing Sweet Home commercially.

“Basically, we have just become part of the process,” said Ken England, a member of the Planning Committee and the façade improvement subcommittee.

Business owners may pick up applications at the Chamber of Commerce and SHEDG office, located at 1575 Main St., across from Safeway.

Applications and plans are reviewed by a three-person subcommittee, England said. The subcommittee can approve, deny or send back the plan for further detail. Upon approval, the subcommittee turns the project over to SHEDG to release funds.

This fiscal year, SHEDG has $3,000 set aside for the program, with about $2,300 remaining as of last week, England said. The committee may approve up to $500 per project.

Upon completion of a project, a member of the subcommittee member inspects the project to make sure that it followed the plans and then the property owner is reimbursed.

“You can’t request to paint it tope, and we come out and it’s bright red,” England said.

The subcommittee serves as a “design review process,” but it doesn’t dictate exactly what must be done in an improvement project, England said. The subcommittee is mainly looking for whether a project, colors and style, will blend tastefully into the community.

The subcommittee also looks at signage with the same idea in mind, he said.

Bacilio Toscano and Mayte Garcia, owners of the Sun Motel, remodeled the interior of their business three months ago. SHEDG is helping with approximately $300 for exterior paint. They have spent around $600 so far painting.

“I think it will be very good for business,” Garcia said. “I feel enthusiastic.”

SHEDG and SHARE have provided a place to start from, not only with cash but also with style, Garcia said. Uncertain what might look best in Sweet Home, she was able to take advice from the program subcommittee on colors.

The program has enough funding for about six projects a year, England said. “For SHEDG to turn this project over to SHARE is a tremendous vote of confidence.”

The SHARE Planning Committee is one of four committees under the SHARE designation, which also includes a Steering Committee, a Finance Committee and a Marketing Committee.

“Our job is that we kind of set the priorities for what we should be doing,” England said of the Planning Committee. The marketing and finance committees handle the execution of the various SHARE efforts while the Steering Committee provides overall direction.

Right now, the Planning Committee is creating a vision statement, something it can present to the SHARE organization as a whole, England said.

“A lot of people have a lot of dissatisfactions about the current state of things in Sweet Home,” England said. “A lot of satisfactions too, but dissatisfaction drove this.”

That leaves the Planning Committee trying to answer what the community wants Sweet Home to look like in the future, he said. “We want to make sure our vision statement is supportable and in support of the SHEDG mission statement.”

SHARE is the vehicle for achieving that vision, while SHEDG is the funding vehicle for the overall effort, he said, including efforts to attract more businesses and facilities while providing greater access to goods and services in the community.

England believes in what Sweet Home has to offer, he said, noting that if he were a company executive, he would be looking at Sweet Home as a captive market, especially with the constantly rising price of fuel. If the goods and services were here, he believes the people of Sweet Home would choose to shop here.

The façade program is a piece of this effort, he said.

“I would like to see as many businesses as possible taking advantage of it, and ultimately, I’d like to see more funding for it,” England said.

“We’d like to see this program catch on and more people taking advantage of it.”