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Bank to offer low-interest loans to town's businesses

November 19, 2003|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A local bank's plan to offer $500,000 in renovation loans to downtown businesses was among several issues related to Charles Town's $7.1 million downtown revitalization discussed at the Charles Town City Council meeting Monday night.

The Bank of Charles Town plans to lend the money to businesses at a reduced interest rate to help them pay for exterior renovations to their buildings, city council members said.

As an extra incentive to participate in the program, the city will waive the city's business and occupation tax to businesses while they are renovating their buildings, said council member Randy Breeden.

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Council members Matt Ward and Mayor Randy Hilton praised the bank for the idea.

"I think we're getting off to a wonderful start," Hilton said.

The city largely is finished with the extensive renovation, which included installing new sidewalks, streetlights and historical interpretation areas in the shopping area and burying overhead utility lines.

The city had planned to replace its parking meters on George and Washington streets, but has decided not to use the machines. The city instead will enforce a two-hour parking limit on George and Washington streets, Hilton said.

On other existing parking meters in town, the first two hours will be free, Hilton said.

The city will handle snow removal on the new sidewalks this winter, Hilton said. Because using salt on the new sidewalks during the first year can cause them to deteriorate, the city will spread a material called urea to safely melt snow and ice, Hilton said.

In past years, merchants cleared sidewalks, Hilton said.

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