Property Enhancement Grant Recipients Announced
Main Street Murfreesboro, a nonprofit, 501c3 in the historic downtown business district focused on economic revitalization, recently awarded their first Property Enhancement grants totaling $10,000 to two downtown business owners.
Main Street’s Board of Directors voted in 2021 to approve funding designated for a new grant program, which would be implemented in 2022, to encourage and assist façade improvements made to historical buildings in the downtown district. “The grant application process focused on how the improvements being proposed would have a significant impact on the Main Street district, engage the public with the streetscape, thus improving the pedestrian experience within the downtown and adding value to the historic landscape,” said Executive Director Sarah Callender.
The Main Street Board’s Design Committee, made up of board members and community leaders, received eight applications and used a rubric scoring system based on project scope, impact/visual, and impact/historic. Two businesses were selected based on scores from the committee members.
Beckman’s Prescription Shop, built in 1976 and owned by Keith and Shannon Beckman, were one of the two businesses chosen for a three-phase renovation project on their locally owned pharmacy located on 120 East College Street. Improving structural integrity to their current building and updating the business’ external appearance, the $5,000 Property Enhancement grant awarded from Main Street helped to assist costs for a new concrete front step, replacing the original aggregate structure. A handicapped accessible ramp entrance was repoured and upgraded. The Beckman’s also replaced their trademark mortar and pestle sign, maintaining its nostalgic design but upgrading the materials and logo. The original wooden sign had been a part of the business since its inception in 1976. Removal of the existing AstroTurf, surrounding the front step entrance, was replaced with stamped concrete. “The goal here is to increase curbside appeal and make it easier to maintain. We feel these renovations will really accent our entire vision. Our new sign and updated aesthetics will direct more people to Beckman’s Prescription Shop and signify a new era of our pharmacy. It will also make our building more visually aligned with the development around us. As the only pharmacy in downtown, we want people to notice our store and know that we are an accessible place for both healthcare and essentials,” wrote Keith and Shannon Beckman.
History of the Beckman’s building: the location on the corner of North Spring Street and College Street, was once a gas station before the current building was built by owners Milton and Sylvia Beckman. They had purchased The Prescription Shop in the old Polk Hotel from Dr. James Garner in 1973 and then moved to the current location in 1977.
The second grant recipient was Veda’s Flowers and Gifts, located on 27 S. Public Square. Owned by Rhonda Hingst, Kim Reynolds, and the late Pat Patterson, this family-owned business started in 2017. The $5,000 grant award was used to expose windows on the Maple Street side of their building and along the back, replacing with commercial grade glass. Previously the original window spaces were covered with painted wood. This project restored the building to the original state, allowing shoppers inside Veda’s to see through the building onto Maple Street. Rhonda shared, “We are so grateful to have been awarded this grant. It offered us the financial backing and motivated us to focus on what our community is seeing from the street level.”
History of the 27 S. Public Square building: this cornerstone building on the downtown square was built in 1880 and at one time was three stories, operating as a hotel. After the top story was destroyed from a tornado, the building was divided into three separate buildings. It has served the public as Appleton’s, My Lady dress shop, a driving school, an auto parts store, and campaigning headquarters among many other businesses. This family trio of women purchased the building in March 2017 and opened Veda’s Flower Shop in June of that year.
Randy Caldwell, chairperson of the Design Committee for Main Street Murfreesboro said, “The Design committee felt that the improvements proposed by Veda’s and Beckman’s would have a significant impact on the Main Street district. Both used their renovations to engage the public with the streetscape.” Main Street Murfreesboro plans to hold the second round of Property Enhancement grant applications later this year for downtown businesses.