Sycamore businesses plan appearence improvements


By Keisha Howerth

The Sycamore City Council’s draft of its updated plan on zoning and land uses to improve the downtown’s appearance should be expected in the next 45 days.

Mundy said Sycamore’s Architectural Review Committee has been recommending grants to the City Council for businesses in need of exterior improvements for about a decade.

“The goal is to enhance the appearance of downtown Sycamore and preserve historic architecture,” said city manager Brian Gregory. “We want to keep the image consistent with what the city is known for.”

Kevin Mathey, Architectural Review Committee member, said the grants were initially for businesses in the downtown area. It’s since expanded to include businesses on side streets in need of improvements.

“Now we can help others like Jeff Keicher’s State Farm office on Elm Street,” Mathey said.

Mathey said the grant will help replace deteriorated bricks on Keicher’s office building, 315 W. Elm St., which faces a city parking lot that hosts downtown events, including farmers markets.

“This helps make the area [look] nicer for the city,” Mathey said.

Mayor Ken Mundy said business owners can submit applications to the committee. Owners would need to provide a sketch and bid for what needs to be done on their building’s appearance.

“The city can participate up to $5,000 on a 50/50 split,” Mundy said. “If a business needed $8,000 [for improvements] they could apply for 50 percent of that price and receive $4,000 through the grant.”

Mundy said the city wants to maintain a pleasant and welcoming storefront for anyone passing by.

“We recommend that businesses keep [their appearance] in order, and we commend the businesses that continue to do so,” Mundy said.

Gregory said by maintaining appearances for businesses, more shoppers are inclined to visit Sycamore’s downtown area. Gregory said no other businesses have received grants recently, but Sycamore Antiques, 320 W. State St., is the most recent business to undergo exterior improvements.