OPELOUSAS, La. – Qualified business and/or commercial property owners in Opelousas can now apply for grant funds for building rehabilitation work through the Building Improvement Grant (BIG). Introduced in 2021, the BIG program is an initiative designed to assist property and business owners in improving their buildings. The grant program is made possible through a partnership by the City of Opelousas, Opelousas Downtown Development District and Opelousas Main Street. The goal of the BIG program is to create a preserving the city’s historic identity and cultural assets while stimulating local investment.
“This local grant program along with the investments of business owners is a win for our businesses, downtown and our city,” said Mayor Julius Alsandor. “It is also a way to prioritize our efforts in helping to revitalizing the downtown district,” said Opelousas Mayor Julius Alsandor.
The BIG is a reimbursement grant and award amounts must be matched dollar for dollar by the recipient. An applicant may apply for a grant project from $500 to up to $5000; however, the business and/or property owner must spend an equal amount or more on the project. This year, the Opelousas Downtown Development District has set aside $20,000 in funds for grant projects.
“The BIG initiative has proven a great success for the City of Opelousas and the business community,” said Lena Charles, Chairman of the Downtown District. “The ODDD applauds the grant recipients and their investments made to their businesses and the local economy and we also appreciate the partnership with Opelousas Main Street and the City of Opelousas as this collaborative effort resulted in BIG initial investments.”
Last year, a total of $10-thousand dollars in matching grant funds were awarded to five local businesses whose grant projects totaled just over $100-thousand dollars. “This grant program is not only helpful to business and property owners but also has a real impact on the outward appearance and character of our downtown,” said Melanie Lebouef, Main Street Director.
Some of the work that property owners can apply for includes, but is not limited to, are restoration of building features such as windows, awnings, (without signage), masonry work, and interior work related to walls, flooring and ceiling repair and plumbing. For more info about the grant, call 337-948-1391. Grant applications are due by June 1, 2022.