VHEDC offers façade improvement grant

Chuck McMichael interacts with Jonah, one of the puppets featured in The Lighted Trail, played by his son, Charlie, during the April 21 Economic Development Corporation board meeting. The McMichaels hope to complete production of the first five episodes of the children’s faith-based education series by Christmas. (VHA-Photo/SC)
Chuck McMichael interacts with Jonah, one of the puppets featured in The Lighted Trail, played by his son, Charlie, during the April 21 Economic Development Corporation board meeting. The McMichaels hope to complete production of the first five episodes of the children’s faith-based education series by Christmas. (VHA-Photo/SC)

Also: pool shades, postboxes and puppets

By Shanna Cummings
[email protected]

As part of the effort to breathe new life into Van Horn’s business thoroughfare, the Van Horn Economic Development Corporation (EDC) is offering a matching grant up to $3,000 for interested businesses and nonprofits in the B-1 business district to use to update their facades and landscaping.

Examples of qualifying façade improvements include but are not limited to:

  • Exterior painting or washing
  • Historic reconstruction
  • Awnings
  • Landscaping installation and maintenance
  • Signage

Interested business owners should submit the grant application along with contractor estimates for the improvements to the EDC. If the application is approved, the EDC will reimburse the amount of the grant once improvements are complete and invoices have been paid.

For more information and to download the application, visit www.vanhorntexas.org/2170/Economic-Development-Center

Meanwhile, the municipal pool, fresh from a facelift, will soon sport a collection of seven brightly-colored shade canopies in time for the official opening scheduled for Memorial Day weekend. The spacious canopies will provide shade and protection while still leaving room for sunbathing. A 40-foot long canopy at the end opposite the pool building will offer space for parties or a shady location to leave bags during visits. The canopy project will cost $15,459.35.

Van Horn school welding students have completed the design for the Postbox for Space, which will receive letters and postcards destined for spaceflight on Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket. Students made a short video to share with the EDC during the April 21 board meeting, showing the cardboard mock design. The Postbox for Space was designed by Van Horn school welding students with guidance from Blue Origin volunteers, and the finished product will include design elements that reflect Van Horn, Culberson County-Allamoore ISD, and Blue Origin. Students designed the Postbox to Space to be easy to use and readily differentiated from a traditional blue postbox. Once the downtown parking lot renovations have been completed, the EDC plans to install the Postbox there as a feature for tourism.

Van Horn residents Chuck and Mary Lynn McMichael presented their business plan for a faith-based children’s multimedia education series The Lighted Trail during the meeting’s public comment. The plan includes possible tourism and educational opportunities that may spring from production. The series will include original songs by Mary Lynn McMichael, as well as specially-made puppets created by puppeteer Terry Angus based on Holy Land flora and fauna. Production will take place in Van Horn in four rounds of 10-day filming sessions. The McMichaels anticipate further tourism opportunities like filming tours and an exclusive gift shop, as well as educational opportunities for Van Horn students interested in multimedia entertainment production, puppetry, and possibly broadcasting.