Eight Mile Facade Improvement Program leads to more transformational change along the major corridor

Not all projects of significance currently happening on Eight Mile are so vast in scope as the Gateway Marketplace or the state fairgrounds development. Since 2008, the Eight Mile Boulevard Association (8MBA), in partnership with the city and the Community Foundation, have been working to improve Eight Mile's "curb appeal" with its Façade Improvement Program (FIP).
 
FIP is a reimbursement program that incentivizes business owners on Eight Mile to invest in their properties and improve their appearance. 8MBA will match what the owners invest up to $10,000, and also provide free architectural design services.
 
This program has helped to renovate over two dozen facades over the last five years, most recently at the Fresh Fish House at Wyoming. The program helps develop a pride of ownership and has also led to the renovation of sites adjacent to those that have participated in FIP. Tim Horton's recently opened a storefront on Eight Mile at Telegraph because of the investment they saw happening on the boulevard.
 
"People want to invest in Eight Mile and in their property," says Tami Salisbury, executive director of the Eight Mile Boulevard Association. "This is a huge business retention tool, and also a huge business attraction tool." 8MBA is doing what they can incrementally to change the perception of Eight Mile so it is seen as more of a connector than a divider. "Without physically changing the landscape we'll never change the mental landscape."
 
Exit surveys conducted by the 8MBA have shown that every single business that participated in the FIP saw an increase in business over the next year.
 
8MBA currently has a record seven applications for the FIP. Two will be selected. In order to qualify, a business must be a member of the 8MBA, have an Eight Mile address, and be able to make at least half of the investment themselves. Design plans must be agreed upon by all participating organizations and aesthetically improve Eight Mile.
 
Source: Tami Salisbury, Executive Director of the Eight Mile Boulevard Association
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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Nicole Rupersburg is a former Detroiter now in Las Vegas who regularly writes about food, drink, and urban innovators. You can follow her on Instagram @eatsdrinksandleaves and Twitter @ruperstarski.
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