One of downtown John Day’s key businesses will see a facelift and expansion sooner than later, thanks to a major grant award from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

Greg and Marla Armstrong were awarded a $200,000 Main Street Revitalization grant through OPRD’s Oregon Heritage division.

Thirty grants totaling $5.2 million were awarded to Oregon Main Street Network organizations. The projects included facade improvements, housing projects and seismic upgrades, with grants ranging from $56,731 to $200,000.

The grant application was submitted by John Day on behalf of the Armstrongs after the city council approved their submission Feb. 26. The Armstrongs will provide $448,000 for the $648,000 project, which calls for increasing retail space by about 4,500 square feet.

The Corner Cup building, which the Armstrongs own, likely would be removed as the store expands west. The drug and variety store has expanded into adjacent spaces since 1977, which created unusable areas that will be turned into uniform retail space during the remodel.

The project also calls for improvements to the Main Street storefront with updated energy-efficient windows and insulated walls. Marla Armstrong told the Eagle she wasn’t sure when the project would begin, as architects were still working on plans.

Like many small businesses, the Armstrongs saved up a little each year toward the project. The state grant would enable them to move forward more quickly, she said.

A grant application was also submitted for the 1188 Brewing Company, which completed a major interior remodel in 2018. They had requested $90,860 with a $23,500 match to create an integrated facade covering the original location and the company’s expansion into adjacent space to the west.

John Day City Manager Nick Green had noted at the Feb. 26 council meeting that OPRD likely would limit awards to no more than $200,000 per city.

Nine of the 30 projects that were awarded Main Street Revitalization grants offered matches over $200,000. The largest match was $635,300 from the city of Woodburn for a complete renovation of its city hall building. The second largest was $525,000 for a major remodel of the Litch Building in Enterprise. Len’s Drug’s match was the third largest at $448,000.

Richard Hanners is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. He can be contacted at rick@bmeagle.com or 541-575-0710.

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