Lexington officials began accepting facade grant applications this week, making it the third year the program is offered

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Since 2012, 11 businesses along Main Street in Lexington have received grants from the city to renew their storefronts and boost tourism, and because of its success, officials announced they're offering the program again this year.

Rhoten's Country Store was a recipient in both 2012 and 2013, allowing owner Wes Rhoten to update both the front and side of the building built in the 1930's.

"It was really showing its age, it was pretty worn down," said Rhoten. "We really didn't have the resources to do what we wanted to do and so we kind of put it off, but when they came along with the $5,000 grant money, that kind of spurred us on to go ahead and get something done."

Recently, Lexington officials announced they're accepting applications for 2014 grants, and Rhoten says he'll go for a three-peat to finalize the updates on the other side. However, changes to include businesses along North and South Lake Drive mean Rhoten will have more competition.

"We've had more come to us that are wanting to improve their buildings and refurbish some of the buildings that've been sitting empty for a while," said Lexington Grants Administrator Wesley Crosby. "Because of the response we've continued to operate the program and we plan to invest in it more in the future."

Since its adoption, the program has set aside money from the city's general fund to offer a $5,000 grant to businesses who qualify, but officials say next year they'll incorporate some big changes to try and boost Lexington's look even more.

"We're going to expand the program to $10,000, but require some investment of $20,000 minimum if you're doing work on your building to help promote some additional growth and additional reinvestment into the buildings," said Crosby.

Since incorporating the changes, Rhoten says Lexington's generosity has enabled him and other business owners to build upon their profit as well.

City officials say because of it's success, they'll continue the facade program for as long as possible during their 20 year plan to build the downtown area called "The Vision Plan."

The deadline for an application is April 11th. The city's website offers all of the guidelines and requirements needed to qualify.

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