A continued investment in Johnson City

By Brandi Bailey

July 24, 2013 Updated Jul 25, 2013 at 1:05 AM EDT

Johnson City, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Nearly half a million dollars is available to local business owners to spruce up one of the busiest areas of Johnson City.

"They say if you build it they will come. When people see activity when they see other people improving their buildings and seeing more activity, then they also want to get on board with it," said village historian Janet Ottman.

That positive attitude is exactly what Johnson City business owners hope will continue throughout the village.

The Main Street Revitalization Grant has been two years in the making.

It's a $457,000 grant that is helping eight business owners fund renovations to both the inside and outside of their buildings.

For the Reveille Restaurant, it was a matter of addressing the outside of its building to make it more inviting to the public.

"We did all new windows and doors. We wrapped the whole building in this concrete siding, which is a very industrial heavy duty, which fit into the structure of what they wanted us to do," said Reveille Restaurant owner Thomas Murphy.

A design committee is overseeing all of the renovations, helping store owners follow guidelines for historic building work.

Health Beat is a health food store that's been on the Main Street strip for almost 30 years.

"It just makes it more attractive downtown. Everything looks so much cleaner and I know a lot of the other businesses are doing their store fronts. We're hoping it will draw not only more customers, but more businesses to come here," said Health Beat owner Michele Moelder.

Health Beat painted the outside of its store and renovated an office area that was outdated. Just seeing that work done has sparked private investors to take interest.

"He (the private investor) came in and bought six buildings on Main Street. He's putting his own money into renovating them," said Johnson City Mayor Greg Deemie.

The grants cover 75 percent of the cost of renovation; business owners put up the rest.

The investors hope the investment will bring big long-term returns and business to the village.