The Spring Grove EDA voted to extend a popular matching grant program on June 25.

The "Fix-Up Fund" has provided a 50-percent match for local businesses to upgrade their facades (building fronts). The initial target area has been the Main Street corridor from First Avenue SE to First Avenue SW.

Up to $2,500 per building was made available with a total of $12,500 originally appropriated for the program on a first-come, first-served basis for work completed by Dec. 31.

With less than $2,000 of the original amount left for applicants, members voted to make up to $2,500 available to fund a project proposal from Rectangles, Framing & Things. That passed by unanimous vote with the only caveat being that the project meet the program's criteria.

A second motion was then made by Commissioner JC Nerstad to continue the Fix-Up Fund on the same basis, earmarking up to $5,000 more for additional applications on a first-come, first-serve basis. The new project completion date is the end of September 2014.

"I'm just glad people are using it," Nerstad said of the grant program. He floated the idea of expanding the Fix-Up Fund to include more Spring Grove locations at a future date, but no motion or discussions ensued on that as of yet.

UffDa Fest receives more funds

In other news, the board also voted to contribute $1,000 toward the UffDa Fest celebration.

Organizer Patricia Storlie from Giants of the Earth Heritage Center requested the donation to help pay for advertising costs associated with the event, which is sponsored by the organization. Nerstad abstained from the vote because of his involvement with the heritage center.

The motion would first tap the already approved "Up and Running" advertising account to promote UffDa Fest, since that campaign is currently running under-budget.

The EDA also has a separate account devoted to advertising, which can be utilized if the former source is not sufficient.

Other news from the board

EDA secretary Tammy Stadtler reported that the "Detour Dollars" promotion is drawing more registrations every week. Local businesses have noticed increased foot traffic when they host the entry boxes, she added.

Members also discussed prospects for promoting future economic growth, noting some promising signs in the community.

Nerstad reported that area residents are interested in moving to Spring Grove with rentals and for-sale homes receiving increasing attention.

"I'm also aware of three businesses that would like to locate on Main Street," he stated.