Downtown Lake Wales

Lake Wales leaders are offering a matching grant to lure a restaurant to the city’s downtown district.

LAKE WALES – Community Redevelopment Agency and Main Street staff in Lake Wales have announced a $50,000 matching grant to establish a food-related business either downtown or in the Northwest Redevelopment Area. “We are looking for restaurants, breweries, juice bars, coffee shops and more,” Lake Wales Main Street Executive Director Karen Thompson said. “We need it all! We have college students looking for places to hang out and eat in-between classes and a community anxious to head downtown after 5 p.m. and on the weekend for dinner and drinks.”

A brochure for the program states bakeries, mobile food establishments, grocery stores, produce markets, health food stores and other specialty stores owners could also be eligible.

Drive-through facilities, non-profits that do not pay taxes, convenience stories, bars, any new construction and costs associated with code violations would not be eligible. Grants are available for rehabilitation and restoration of existing properties only.

Eligible improvements include electrical or plumbing upgrades, grease traps, venting systems, sprinkler systems, engineering services, solid waste and recycling and utility connections.

Any improvements must be consistent with City of Lake Wales land-development regulations and Lake Wales CRA commercial corridor design guidelines.

Payments will be made after a review by staff and once proof of building permits and certificate of occupancy are provided.

To apply, or for more information, call the Lake Wales CRA office at (863) 259-1503.

“The word is getting out and my phone is ringing which is exciting,” Thompson said. “I’ve had multiple meetings with multiple interests, all of which were given the information, application and expectations. None have officially applied yet but it will happen!”

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