Facade improvements in downtown Kennewick

Facade improvements in downtown Kennewick
KENNEWICK - Downtown Kennewick has struggled with storefronts, being a revolving door for failed businesses.

Thanks to your investment, the downtown area is slowly getting a new look and local entrepreneurs are benefiting because of it.

Little by little, year after year, your money is changing the face of Downtown Kennewick.

Bobbie Jay is a store owner who thinks improvements to storefronts have helped business.

"The downtown area is an older area, the better it looks, the better the clientele we're going to get down here, and who's gonna pass up basically a free face lift?"

Bobbie Jay certainly isn't. She owns a sewing and vacuum business.
When she learned the outside of her storefront could be re-done at little cost to her -- she signed up.

"It was better than what I expected. I have no complaints, I've been happy with with all the results and it's been ten years and still looks a lot better," she says.

The Historic Downtown Kennewick Partnership can help cover up to 75% of the cost to update a building's façade.
The money comes from you -- through the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Tim Dalton is the executive director of the project. "The work we're doing is really putting downtown back on the map within the area."

Revamps began in 2000. Since then, more than 30 buildings got a face lift at a total cost of about one-million dollars.

The head of the Partnership says the improvements have been critical at keeping tenant in place.
Prior to the remodels -- more than a quarter of the storefronts were empty.
Now, there's just one.

"They're staying. They're not going anywhere," Dalton says.

The dilapidated storefronts of the past are a memory to customers and business owners like Bobbie.

"The whole are has improved so much that I think the whole area beautifying itself has brought more people into the downtown area."

A new look and a new lease on life for businesses in Downtown Kennewick.

The Partnership tells KEPR some businesses have found a direct improvement to their bottom line once they re-modeled the exterior.

Sales are up by as much as 20-percent.