FRENCH LICK – Accelerate Indiana Municipalities (Aim) announced Richmond has been awarded an Aim Community Program Innovation Award for their PLACE (Placemaking Loans Accelerating Companies and Entrepreneurs) program. The city was honored with this award on Thursday, November 3 during the Annual Awards Luncheon – presented by Baker Tilly Municipal Advisors, LLC, during the 2022 Aim Ideas Summit in French Lick. Richmond won in the 25,001 – 50,000 population category.
The PLACE program identifies blighted downtown properties and then uses Redevelopment Commission funds and its revolving loan fund to purchase the property and renovate the interior and exterior. The first floor is partially finished and ready for the new commercial owner to make their own. The other floors are converted into livable spaces, ready for the business owner to move in or rent. The City then sells the property to a new or existing business owner. For the first three years, the City subsidizes the mortgage on the property to help take the financial pressure off the business. In the first year, the business only pays 25% of the mortgage, the city paying the remainder. In the second year, the business’s mortgage share increases to 50%, and then 75% in the third year. Finally, in year four, the business takes on 100% of the liability for the loan. In addition, there are incentives for business owners who choose to live in the upper stories of their PLACE Program property.
“Every community struggles with strategies for addressing blighted properties and combatting vacant or abandoned properties. Richmond’s PLACE program targets the impediments of small business ownership and uses its financial resources assist business owners and simultaneously address problem properties. This program certainly fits the definition of program innovation,” said Aim CEO Matt Greller.
In its 46th year, the Aim Annual Awards program, presented by Baker Tilly Municipal Advisors LLC, recognizes communities and individuals in municipal government for excellence and outstanding achievement. A seven-member panel of qualified judges selected this year’s winners from a competitive field of nominees from around the state.
2022 Aim Ideas Summit
November 2-4, 2022
French Lick Resort
Attendance: 1,000 (pending final registration count)