New program will help businesses spruce up storefronts, become energy efficient

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. – Cornerstone Alliance and Indiana Michigan Power are partnering to help small businesses redo their facades with grant funding. 

The new program through Cornerstone Alliance and I&M is geared towards small businesses in downtown Benton Harbor, the Benton Harbor arts district, Niles Road between Hilltop & Napier, and the business district of M139. 

“Cornerstone Alliance is offering area small businesses a façade improvement grants up to ten thousand dollars and in conjunction with that we are also offering an energy efficiency grant of up to two thousand dollars,” Cornerstone Alliance Director of Entrepreneurship & Place making Stephanie Scott-Sims said. 

Businesses that receive the $10,000 grant would then be eligible for up to $100,000 in energy rebates. 

Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad says this is good for the community. 

“Anytime the city of Benton Harbor working with our partners are granted money in order to spur economic development as the mayor of the city of Benton Harbor I’m excited,” Mayor Muhammad said. 

Cornerstone says this program runs through August 1 or until funds are finished but they hope to expand the program if this initial effort is successful. 

"This is an important project because making a first impression is always a lasting impression and we want to make a good impression of our community on our visitors and people who live here,” Scott-Simms said. 

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