City presented facade grant check to El Sol on Tuesday
'We're happy to be a part of improving the downtown area’
ROCHELLE — On Tuesday, the City of Rochelle presented a check for $4,281.74 to El Sol through its facade grant program.
The program covers half the cost of any improvements made to business fronts in town with a limit of $5,000. The restaurant at 509 4th Ave. is the most recent recipient. Facade improvements included a new metal awning. The previous awning was hit by a delivery truck in the past and the new upgrades will prevent that from happening again.
“The program was put in place to help our small business owners be able to do some improvements and create a better look downtown,” Mayor John Bearrows said. “The downtown area has improved since this program started and a lot of businesses have taken advantage of it. We're happy to be a part of improving the downtown area.”
Bearrows called the downtown area and the city’s small businesses “the backbone” of the Rochelle community.
“We've done our very best and with the full support of our council we've been able to do programs that help businesses in a lot of different directions,” Bearrows said. “We have the facade improvement program, we have the signage program and we try to do everything that we can. We try to promote the small businesses downtown because it is the backbone of the community.”
The mayor called the feeling of seeing businesses reinvesting following the tougher times during COVID-19 “very gratifying.” The city saw minimal business loss due the pandemic.
“With the support of the city council, programs were put in place to help our businesses,” Bearrows said. “During COVID-19, we were able to give money to small businesses to keep them going when they were closed down by the state and considered nonessential businesses. It's very gratifying to know that we didn't lose businesses because of COVID-19. We helped keep them in place."