Seeing the Potential

Shelbyville couple to renovate
Eminence building

Crotzer hopes to attract retail business

By Helen McKinney
Contributing Writer

EMINENCE, Ky. (February 2004) – For Katie Crotzer, restoring old buildings is like putting together puzzle pieces. Once completed, she literally has a picture of the past.
Six months ago, Crotzer and her husband, William, purchased the Old Farmers Deposit Bank building in Eminence, located at 4888 N. Main St. next to Browning Chevrolet. Together, they operate Crotzer Investment Co., with offices in Shelbyville, Ky.

Eminence building

Photo by Helen McKinney

A facade grant will help revive this building.

Crotzer said she hopes to transform the building into a “drawing card for the city.” The building was once flanked by three other historical structures. These buildings were demolished in 1992.
“The city had originally looked at purchasing and renovating the building,” said Eminence Mayor Doug Bates. Deciding against this, city officials contacted the Crotzers and asked them to consider tackling this project. The couple was unsure of the task until they learned that Renaissance Kentucky Program funding was available from the state.
Funding came in the form of a $10,000 facade grant, which was awarded through the Renaissance Kentucky Program. This is a partial grant, said Crotzer, to assist in exterior work costs. Only privately owned buildings are eligible to receive a facade grant. Such a grant assists in paying for restoring and or renovating building fronts facing public streets.
The grant is a 50-50 match, and any amount above that will have to be paid by Crotzer, said Eminence Main Street Manager Mary Jane Yates. While the goal is to beautify and ensure the longevity of the community, Crotzer said she would easily spend more than $100,000 on renovation efforts.

Katie Crotzer

Katie Crotzer

Crotzer had to first submit a Facade Grant Application Form, accompanied by proper documentation. Various other materials submitted might include historical photographs, a cost estimate, contractor information, photographs of the site and a copy of the current deed or platt of survey. Crotzer will be re-imbursed through the Renaissance Kentucky Program as the project progresses. She is not eligible for any other grant monies.
Eminence was designated a Silver Renaissance City in 2001, a status that enables the city to apply for federal dollars to aid in revitalization efforts in small downtown areas. The city then applied for inclusion in the Main Street program, hiring Yates as Main Street Manager in 2001.
Eminence has since developed a master plan that includes different phases of work to be spread out over several years. Positive economic development, such as the renovation plans Crotzer has proposed, will possibly lure more industry and jobs into the area. Crotzer has decided to invest her time and money into the city, confident that she can contribute to the beautification process.
Crotzer said she was chosen because the city of Eminence knew about her work on historical structures.
“We’ve done a lot in Simpsonville, Shelbyville and Old Louisville,” said Crotzer.
The couple comes from a background in construction and became interested in the restoration process when they decided to tackle a renovation project of their own.
When it comes to actual renovation techniques, the grant money is a “guarantee that we (will) follow historical guidelines,” said Crotzer. Guidelines provide recommended approaches, treatments and techniques that will aid in preserving existing structures and keep them in harmony with the character of the community.
As an example, Crotzer said no modern building materials, such as vinyl siding, may be used on the building. The couple must stay within historical colors in redesigning the building and re-use as much of the existing structure as possible. A facade grant cannot be applied for to cover the cost of previously completed work.
Crotzer labeled renovation efforts a slow process. In the last five months, copper coating has been placed on the roof, windows reglazed, and plaster and carpentry work done, factors which all contribute to the facade of the building.
While the facade grant has been an incentive for Crotzer, she must pay for renovation efforts on the inside of the building herself. New plumbing had to be installed, as well as electricity, heating and air. The building has been vacant for the last decade.
Built in 1898 as the Deposit Bank of Eminence, it consolidated in 1930 with the Farmers and Drovers Bank. It operated as the Farmers Deposit Bank until 1960, when this bank business moved a few blocks away. Crotzer purchased the empty building from Jeff Browning six months ago, with River City Bank in Louisville lending money for the project.
After this project is completed, Yates said Crotzer must retain ownership of the property for a minimum of five years. Crotzer has a one-year time limit to renovate the structure because funding came in the form of cash money. Some facade grants are awarded in the form of bond money, said Yates, and for that reason a different time limit may apply.
Crotzer said she expects to have two residential units upstairs and a commercial business downstairs. She said she hopes to attract a restaurant and any other use for the building “depends upon the commercial needs in the area.”
Bates said “what she has proposed (will help) keep the building intact.”

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