Three West Virginians walk into a bank. One’s a real estate agent, the second is a councilwoman, and the third owns a hardware store…
Sounds like the beginning of a joke, doesn’t it? But it’s not.
See, in this instance the bank they walked into has been empty for 15 years, the roof has fallen in and the crummy, neglected facade has become a real buzz-kill for the small businesses and hardworking citizens of the town who are trying to improve the main street’s appearance.
And in this non-joke story, these three West Virginians have a plan to make something of this abandoned building. Maybe they’ve been talking to a property investor. Or maybe they just want to pull it down and do something else with the site.
Their idea is pure gold. But even the best development ideas need a little kickstarting money.
Luckily for them, in West Virginia there is this thing called the Property Rescue Initiative. This is a $1 million-a-year pot of loan funding set aside to provide capital investment for folks with solid plans to remove or rehab abandoned buildings.
What happens next? The three West Virginians create a business plan for what they want to do with the site, the Property Rescue Initiative provides them with the financial kickstart they need to leverage additional investment, and, hey presto, that eyesore bank is transformed into a positive asset for the community rather than another pesky evidence of blight.
What’s the punchline? Well, there isn’t one. The $1 million is just sitting there, right now, waiting for someone with a good idea.
Got one? Here’s how you take your first step.