Howell is a small city with big plans. Fresh off of winning a Great American Main Street Award last year, the city recently launched a program to provide financial assistance to small businesses in their first year of operation.
The Howell Rental Subsidy Program is being spearheaded by Howell Main Street in partnership with Lake Trust Credit Union.
Howell Main Street, a volunteer-led nonprofit, is dedicated to making Howell's downtown core an attractive destination for residents and visitors. Chief operating officer Cathleen Edgerly says the group's overall goals include offering more quality and affordable dining choices, everyday retail options, and youth-based attractions. Other long-term goals include improved parking designs, commercial development, outdoor community spaces, and increasing downtown living options.
"After receiving the 2018 Great American Main Street Award, we kicked off a Future of Downtown Development study with the community," Edgerly says. "That feedback helped us better understand what our residents and visitors are looking for. It allowed us to build the criteria and guidelines for the rental subsidy program as a result."
Howell Main Street will provide 12 months of rental assistance to accepted businesses that choose to locate in the downtown Main Street district. The Howell Area Chamber of Commerce is also offering a free one-year membership to program participants.
Edgerly says there have already been inquiries from businesses that were considering various communities throughout Michigan, but are now taking a serious look at Howell.
"The rental subsidy is just one of the ways we have started to implement our vision, as it allows us to incentivize the types of businesses that will drive everyday traffic and sales to the downtown district," she says.
More information can be found here.
Jaishree Drepaul-Bruder is a freelance writer and editor currently based in Ann Arbor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo courtesy of Katie Litwin.