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Grants available for tornado-impacted businesses

Businesses that were impacted by the May 11 tornado can officially apply for a façade improvement grant of up to $5,000 after the Economic Development Authority gave the go-ahead Wednesday.

After that vote, the EDA approved façade improvement grants of $5,000 each to four businesses — Harbour Veterinary Office at 542 E. Constance Road, General Rental Center of Suffolk at 544 E. Constance Road, Suffolk Auto Body at 900 Portsmouth Blvd. and Suffolk Iron Works at 418 E. Washington St.

The grant will allow active businesses in good standing with the city and impacted by the tornado to apply for money to replace or repair its façade, signage or exterior building damage.

Economic Development Director Kevin Hughes said staff took the existing façade grant program and added items directly related to this year’s tornado. He said the deadline for receiving applications would be the end of August.

An EDA staff report outlined what repairs were needed by each of the four tornado-impacted businesses.

Harbour Veterinary Office will use the EDA grant to offset its project cost of $10,400 for window replacement, front door window replacement and to take care of roof and sign damage.

General Rental Center plans to use its grant money to offset costs to remove and repair metal and wood from its lean-to roof, remove and replace the sign on its building and remove and replace the metal fencing along the back of the building. Its total project cost is $12,611.

At Suffolk Auto Body, its grant will go toward offsetting its overall $12,518.83 cost to replace metal on the front of its building, install a new building sign, repair portions of its roof and remove and install new fencing.

Suffolk Iron Works will apply its grant award toward repairing a parapet wall that was blown off at the back of the building, repairing damage to an existing skylight, fixing roof damage due to parapet tiles that knocked multiple holes in it, and put in a new parapet cap. Its overall project cost is $18,111. A parapet wall is a low wall along the roof of a building, a balcony’s edge, the side of a bridge, or a similar type structure.