The City of Paris received word this week it has been approved for a $150,000 downtown improvement grant termed a Facade grant by the state Department of Economic and Community Development.

The grant is designed to aid small businesses that are in a downtown area to be able to improve the street-front exteriors of their businesses.

City Manager Kim Foster told the Paris Commission Thursday that she had received word that the grant, which has no local match required by the city government, had been approved.

“There is a match required for the business owners who are chosen for the grant, though,” she said.

Those business owners who are picked will be required to provide a 25% match for the work done on their businesses.

Improvements might include fixing up primary front-facing commercial facades, such as attached signage,  building entrances, doors, windows, awning, brick, stone, tuckpointing wood or other building surfaces material.

The city has a committee established to study the applicants and choose recipients of grant money.

In another item during Thursday’s meeting, the commission approved on second reading a request to rezone property at 1008 E. Wood St., where developer Randy Crowder plans to convert a former residence into a restaurant.

Prior to Thursday, half the parcel at 1008 E. Wood St. was zoned P-B and the other half was R-2M, meaning half was zoned for a planned business and the other half for residential. The commission agreed to make the whole parcel P-B and Crowder can proceed with his business plans.

A pair of residents who live close to the property spoke during the citizens’ comments portion of the meeting. Freddie Cole of Currier Street expressed concerns about possible noise and traffic issues once the restaurant opens, as did Ron Heath of East Wood Street.

The city has a noise ordinance in place that basically sets aside the hours from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. as times when no obtrusive noises are to be allowed. Crowder, in fact, said the new restaurant would likely be shutting down by 9 p.m. nightly.

He also expressed that parking shouldn’t be a problem — he bought the property at 1010 E. Wood St. in order to have extra parking.

The site plan for the property is due to come before the Paris Municipal Regional Planning Commission next Thursday.

In other business:

• Finance Director Traci Shannon said retail sales tax revenue in the city was up 5.87% in July compared to the year before.

She noted a couple of the city’s larger expenses in the month were $90,000 for liability insurance and $66,000 for equipment for the public works department.

• The commission agreed to have the city participate in a pair of grant programs run by Public Entity Partners.

Those grants are $2,500 each for a Safety Partners grant, which will aid a public works department project, and for a Driver Safety grant, which will help the Paris Police Department buy backup cameras for patrol cars.

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