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Lebanon gets downtown grant for 2nd year in row

Lebanon’s progress in restoring its downtown is turning heads at the state level, resulting in back-to-back grants to local property owners aiming to renovate historic buildings.

This year’s grant recipients are Kenneth and Shellie Jackola, who are receiving a $20,000 Diamonds in the Rough Grant to aid in their effort to restore the Courtney Block Building at 722 S. Main St.

Alysia Rodgers, economic development catalyst for the City of Lebanon and former director of the Downtown Association, said the “state is recognizing what’s happening downtown.”

She noted that a neighboring building at 772 S. Main St., owned by Jeff King and Duck Buddies LLC,  and occupied by Treml’s Jewelry, got a little over $11,000 from the same grant source last year.

King has been working to uncover and restore the transom windows in the Treml’s building, with some financial help from the city to cover interest on a loan that was necessary to match the state funds, she said.

 The Courtney building will be a two-year project, Rodgers said. It is currently occupied by the Westport to Willamette antique store, which is moving out to make way for the restoration effort.

The city is supplying a $10,000 grant to the Jackolas, who are matching the state grant with nearly $35,000, from its Downtown Building Restoration Microgrant Program, Rodgers said.

Money for those grants comes from $50,000 in transient occupancy tax money that is being used to fund the building restoration program, she said.

The grants come from Oregon Heritage, a division of the state Parks and Recreation Department, which awarded 18 grants this year, totaling $303,867, for historic properties and archaeology projects.

Six of the grants were awarded in the Diamonds in the Rough category, which funds façade enhancements that restore the historic character of the property, according to an announcement of the grants.

The grants are approved by the State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation, a nine-member group that reviews nominations to the National Register of Historic Places. The members are professionally recognized in the fields of history, architecture, archaeology and other related disciplines.

“I’m so excited about it,” Rodgers said of the grant. “I love the momentum we have in the downtown. The state wouldn’t be giving us funding if they didn’t think we were headed in the right direction.”