Elk Rapids Businesses Preserving History, Attracting Customers with Renovations

Excitement over the announcement of a big grant that will help renovate downtown Elk Rapids.

The Village of Elk Rapids is receiving more than $213,000 from the Michigan Strategic Fund.

The grant allows four businesses in downtown Elk Rapids to renovate their exterior.

9&10’s Caroline Powers and photojournalist Jeremy Erickson explain how this will help the historic downtown.

“Elk Rapids has been here for a long time. We’re a small village. We’re basically two square miles.”

As you drive through downtown Elk Rapids, buildings dating back to the 1800’s line the streets.

“The buildings are pretty much original from when the town was first really put together,” says Bill Cooper, Elk Rapids Village Manager. “So when you got buildings that are 80 to 100 years old they need a facelift every now and then.”

A grant from the Michigan Strategic Fund is bringing that much needed facelift to four buildings.

“We’re excited about having it looking classier and nicer and new,” says Madeline Vasquez, manager of Wildflower Soapworks.

The grant will allow Elk Rapids to preserve and maintain the history of downtown, while giving local businesses an opportunity to attract more customers.

“Doing some other things to make it better for not only our customers, but everybody that comes into the market,” says Doug Hickman, co-owner of Nifty Things.

“We’re super excited about having bigger windows, having a bigger, prettier store front in general,” Vasquez says. “It doesn’t necessarily look super nice.”

Store owners say the project is a chance for everyone in downtown to grow together.

“With these building facades upgrades I think it’s going to be the stimulus for other people to do the same,” Hickman says. “So we’re excited about it.”

“You’re not going to see a thoroughly modern building dropped in the middle of the mix. You’re going to see stuff that goes with the entire layout of the community and what the people expect,” Cooper says.

Some construction is set to begin in April.               

Building property owners also matched the $213,340 grant for renovations.