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Downtown incentive program set to begin

May 19, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Applications are being made available for a newly established business incentive program in Waynesboro.

The application process will start June 1, with the first business owners set to see benefits in the fall, said state Sen. Terry Punt, R-Franklin.

"We're about ready to kick it off. I'd like to see some businesses locate in downtown Waynesboro with products, merchandise that people want," he said.

Punt has secured $500,000 to provide free or reduced rent for new businesses on Main Street between Clayton Avenue and Grant Street. The program focuses on the first three years of a business' operations.

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The cost of expanding existing businesses could be matched dollar for dollar, Punt said.

He said he designed the program for "bringing people downtown for various goods and services."

"I think it's going to mean a lot for the downtown in Waynesboro," said Jim Stein, president of Main Street Waynesboro Inc., a nonprofit organization administering the grant program.

Punt has insisted that guidelines include a stipulation that stores remain open until 8 p.m. Fridays.

"That's a condition of eligibility," Punt said.

As the program launches, Punt is looking to the future for ways to include infrastructure improvements into the allowed uses.

"It's my hope that we'd be able to enter into Phase Two ... which would add additional moneys," he said.

Applications can be obtained from the Greater Waynesboro Chamber of Commerce.

Each "will be reviewed by a subcommittee of Main Street," Stein said.

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