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Business Face-Lift Funding Available

Redevelopment agency will disperse $1 million for signs and storefront improvements in the West Valley.

February 04, 2003|Massie Ritsch | Times Staff Writer

Retail businesses and commercial property owners in Reseda, Winnetka and Canoga Park can apply for about $1 million in city money to spiff up their storefronts and signs.

The portion of the West Valley is the latest area of Los Angeles to benefit from the city Community Redevelopment Agency's Business Retention and Attraction program, which provides grants for small businesses to improve their facades, signs and other features. Grants have also gone to businesses in Chinatown, Little Tokyo and Hollywood.

Much of the retail property in Reseda, Winnetka and Canoga Park is vacant, said John McCoy, the CRA's deputy administrator for community operations.

"We want to bring new people to the area," McCoy said.

In their grant applications, business owners submit proposals for improvements, along with cost estimates, to the redevelopment agency. Neighborhood councils review the plans. The money for the projects -- $200,000 in each of the next five years -- comes from property taxes in the target zone. Each storefront is limited to $30,000.

"This is designed to bring back some life" to the three West Valley communities, said Councilman Dennis Zine, who represents the area. "This is an excellent opportunity for businesses, especially during these economically troubling times, to make improvements that might otherwise not be possible."

More information about the program, or applications, may be obtained by calling (818) 593-5490.

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