MINOT, N.D. (KXNET) — Minot city officials are trying to make the city more beautiful.

The City of Minot has a facade improvement program that offers public funds to encourage businesses to improve their facades.

It’s also meant to encourage beautification in Minot and to increase community support of the downtown area.

In the summer of 2021, Minot city leaders approved the Facade Improvement Program, which offers a forgivable loan for property managers to make improvements to their buildings.

The 10-year forgivable loan covers 75% of the project costs up to $100,000 for a single facade and $160,000 for a building with two adjoining facades.

“We do the complete facade in a, generally speaking, historic fashion. And replace the windows, doors, and essentially fix the building up so that it looks essentially as it was built roughly 100 years ago for most of these buildings,” said Jonathan Rosenthal, the economic development administrator.

The Mouse River Players Community Theatre has received its own upgrades from the program.

“At first they were only looking at doing businesses on Main Street, but we read the fine print and it said downtown. So we talked to the city and they were nice about it and said sure we’ll include you,” said Cathy Haarstad, a board member for the theatre.

After attending an interest meeting, gathering records, and submitting an application, the Mouse River Players still had more to do.

The plan had to be approved by different groups before construction could even start.

“It went before the Renaissance Board, which we were able to sit in on that meeting, which was interesting. And then it got approved. Then, we had to go to City Council. Then it got approved. And we were good to go,” said Cathy.

Construction began in mid-July of last year, and it finished around October.

“Started with demoing the outside. Taking off the old metal coating and all that sort of thing. And the glass block. Nobody was sorry to see those go. And then we got these beautiful windows in. so they’re bright, they’re well-insulated, and it really adds to the aesthetics of the building. In the process of doing that, we also added the sign over the door,” said Ken Haarstad, the treasurer of the board.

And the Haarstads say the new facade is a nice addition.

They say they never realized the number of people who walked by the building.

“A lot of it is students. 3 o’clock, 3:15, it gets really busy. But all times of the day, there’s a lot of foot traffic. And people do come by and they do see what’s here. And that was part of the point of the big windows, is that people could see in,” said Ken.

So far, five businesses have gotten improvements thanks to the facade improvement program.

Rosenthal says there is enough funding for as many as 15 or 16 businesses to improve their facades.

Businesses that are eligible to apply must be in the red zone.

If your business is in the zone, you can look at eligibility requirements, and reach out to Jonathan Rosenthal by email, at jonathan.rosenthal@minotnd.org.