Sunday, May 18, 2008

Belle Glade Downtown Gets Help

Downtown Belle Glade Building Revitalization Starts

BELLE GLADE, FL. -- The EDGE Center is raising funds for the revitalization of the Old City Hall by selling personalized engraver bricks.  The renovation will cost $1.8 million dollars and so far funds received include $18,900 from Palm Beach County Regions Grant, $362,500 from the State of Florida Dept of Cultural Affairs, and $88,000 from Palm Beach County CDBG Grant.

Over the past year and a half Executive Director, Suzanne Harper has reached out to the Glades communities of South Bay, Belle Glade, Pahokee, and Canal Point to gather input for creating new programs to advance the development of new businesses.  With the direction of the Palm Beach County Economic Development Office director Kevin Johns and assistance by staff the EDGE Board entered into an agreement with the City of Belle Glade Commission to renovate the Old City Hall building. The building will be used by the EDGE Center program to house 10 new cultural and technological startup businesses as well as provide a state of the art conference and training center.

The project offers businesses who are community minded the opportunity to receive up to $200,000 in Community Contribution State tax credits in addition to other incentives offered by the Enterprise Zone tax credits.

The plan for the renovation to meet the goal of the EDGE Incubator development for sustainability is just the beginning of the revitalization of Avenue A in Belle Glade from Main Street to 4th Street.  The plan includes the development of 40 properties by 30 property owners working cooperatively to revitalize Belle Glades Historical downtown.  Through a cooperative effort of planning and financing led by EDGE and County Economic Development Office Staff  the $8.35 million dollar project has received a $1.2 grant from the Brownfield Economic Development Initiative, $2.8 million from the Palm Beach County 108 (HUD) loan fund, and $4.35 million dollars in private investment Loan funds.  The project is scheduled to start construction during the summer of 2008.

The EDGE Center staff will assist Palm Beach County Commission to monitor the Avenue A project to meet goals set for the project.  The new revitalization is scheduled to provide approximately 100 new jobs higher paying jobs within 3 years after the completion of the project. Completion of the 1st phase of revitalization will be completed by September 2009.

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