Hutto program offers $34K matching funds for historic district improvements

Michael Smith, third from right, has resigned as mayor pro tem of Hutto.

Michael Smith, third from right, has resigned as mayor pro tem of Hutto.

Hutto will invest more than $34,000 in matching funds as part of the Old Town historic district façade improvement program. Fourteen applications were received after Hutto City Council adopted an ordinance in August to invest $10,000 each year toward a three-year pilot program for improvements in the district.

The City Council decided, due to the popularity of the program and quality of the projects submitted, to triple the amount of matching funds, to $34,063.

Qualifying improvements for the program include repairs to exterior siding or roofing, repointing brick, restoring original wood windows, fresh paint and historically appropriate siding.

To be eligible, properties must be owner-occupied with an urgent need. Buildings with high visibility or large frontages must be permanent structures and have no outstanding code violations.

A member of the historic preservation commission, the historic preservation officer, downtown manager and director of development services reviewed the properties.

Helen Ramirez, executive director of Business and Development Services for the city of Hutto, said seven of the applicants were commercial properties and seven were residential. Two properties didn’t meet the eligibility requirements, one applicant withdrew because they could not afford the match and one applicant decided to wait until this year to apply. The 10 remaining applicants will divide the funds. The city offered maximum matches of up to $5,000 for façade restoration and $2,500 for paint.

Reimbursements are made as projects are completed. Applications for 2017 are due Sept. 1.

The historic district is makes up 213 acres and includes 212 residential properties and 65 commercial properties. The district is 4 percent of Hutto’s total land area.
By Joe Warner
Joe Warner is executive editor of Community Impact Newspaper. He previously served as managing editor for Central Texas and senior editor of the flagship Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto newspaper. He came to Central Texas from Metro Detroit, where he was editor and general manager of several daily and weekly publications. He is the former president of the Michigan Press Association and was on the MPA board of directors for nine years.