Businesses joining efforts to boost buildings’ appearance

Published 5:00 am Monday, April 20, 2009

Brookhaven’s historic streets will be revived with new colors tobring back an older and nostalgic feel and appearance in an ongoingeffort to revitalize the downtown.

A project already under way is along Monticello Street, whereseveral building owners are working in cooperation with theBrookhaven Trust to spruce up the appearance of the block.

“This year we found our focus to be the Monticello Streetcorridor, which is a high traffic area,” said Matt Hall, presidentof the Trust.

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The organization is assisting building owners in restoring andrenovating their facades by providing matching grants on paint,labor and preparatory work.

Trust member Asem Zeini has chosen the colors from Brookhaven’spast to be presented to building owners.

“All the colors that have been chosen are historic colors andthey are very complementary to each other,” Hall said. “We hopethis will be an ongoing project from year to year.”

Patsy Yates and her husband, owners of Quality Cleaners,recently purchased The Cleaners on Monticello Street and havealready repainted their buildings.

“They were excited we decided to kick start it on MonticelloStreet,” Yates said. “We have the first three buildings.”

Not only did Yates repaint her Monticello Street properties, butshe gave Quality Cleaners a fresh historic look as well.

“We’re just doing whatever we can to help get the place cleanedup,” Yates said.

Gwen Tardo, who, along with her husband, owns Gregg’s OfficeMachine Center, is currently negotiating with the Brookhaven Trustto upgrade their facade.

“We’re just in the beginning stages,” she said. “I think it willdefinitely improve the way it looks. I’ve always wanted to dosomething and with all these neat new colors being done in townthis seemed like a good time.”

For the Tardos to receive help from the Trust in improving theirstorefront, however, they will have to remove the metal from thetop portion of the building.

“If they help you with it, they want you to take it back asclose to the original look as possible,” she said.

The Tardos have not yet decided whether they will remove themetal. Regardless, Tardo said the building will receive a new lookvery soon even if they have to do it themselves.

“I’m just so excited about giving it a facelift,” she said.”We’ll be going with three different colors if things work out theyway I planned.”

Work began recently to paint the two buildings owned by JuneLofton on the block at the Whitworth Street intersection tocomplete planned work on the block. Negotiations are continuing forthe old Phillips Military Surplus building.

“We’re still in hopes we can still get the whole block painted,”Hall said.

Terry Pappas, a concerned citizen and downtown resident, hasworked to coordinate with local contractors on several projectsbeing undertaken in the downtown area.

“It’s just a group of concerned citizens who enjoy improvingtheir downtown landscape,” he said.

He said the paint has been supplied for all of the projects byHome Depot and Glidden at a significant discount.

In addition to the Monticello Street renovations, the Trust issupplying paint to Brookhaven Outreach Ministries to repaint theirbuilding on Railroad Avenue. Joshua Cole, who is painting theMonticello Street businesses at a discount, will paint theMinistries building for free and Johnnie Smith, a bricklayer, isdonating his services to repair the roof of the building.

Hall was unable to say whether there would be other projectscompleted this year, but he was hopeful additional monies could befound to fund other renovations.