Fox River Grove facade program gains interest of businesses

FOX RIVER GROVE – With one facade face-lift underway, two more businesses in the village are looking to make changes to their building exteriors as well.

The village’s Facade Grant Program, which was established in May, has been getting some interest from businesses in the roughly 4,800-resident village.

Since the village first approved a facade grant and loan for the New China restaurant, which was damaged by a fire in January, two other businesses have shown interest for the program, Village Administrator Karl Warwick said.

“Sometimes it takes a little incentive to get [things] moving,” Warwick said.

This fiscal year, the village budgeted $75,000 for the program. Money for the facade grants to eligible businesses is coming from the Community Enhancement Capital Fund, which is funded by fines from red-light camera violations in the village.

Under the program, the village will contribute between $1,000 to $50,000 per approved project. Each grant would pay for up to 50 percent of the project cost. The property owner would be reimbursed with the village share after the project is satisfactorily completed.

Riverside Auto Collision at 200 S. Northwest Highway has applied for a grant.

The business normally has about a dozen cars in front of the business, and wants to take steps to screen its operation, Warwick said.

The business’ plan is to have brick planters and bushes around the front and side of the lot along Route 14 and Opatrny Drive. The plan would provide screening that is 4 feet tall, said Janet Lalond, co-owner of Riverside Collision.

Riverside also is looking to create a brick walkway and paint the sides of its building to match the bricks, Lalond said.

The project budget is a little more than $22,000.

“We’ve always wanted to do what we can to keep things beautiful,” Lalond said.

Recently, Fuel Zone, a gas station at the intersection of Route 14 and Illinois Street, presented some preliminary ideas.

Gas station representatives are looking to give their pumps a face-lift, fix the concrete around the pumps, and do some lighting upgrades, Warwick said. An estimated dollar amount for the project has yet to be determined.

The Village Board also has an agreement with the New China restaurant. Under the current agreement between the restaurant and the village, the village agreed to pay the restaurant $43,000 when work on the new facade is complete. Of that amount, the restaurant has to pay back $10,750 over a five-year period.

As New China works to reopen after a fire that took place Jan. 3, board members reaffirmed its commitment to the restaurant by providing a letter to tell contractors that the village is backing the project and money would be available at the completion of the facade work.

New China owner William Gee said he hopes to open in five to six weeks with an updated restaurant.

As for work on the facade, there needs to be work on signs and awnings among other things, Gee said.

Gee said the facade program helped ensure that the restaurant will have a more contemporary facade when it reopens.

It “gave us a gift to help us have more curb appeal,” Gee said.

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