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MAIN STREET PRIDE
Downtown business owners fix up buildings
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Saturday, August 09, 2014 5:00 AM
Several historic buildings along Madison's Main Street have received facelifts in the last year as more and more business owners are renovating their properties.
The city's building inspector Mark Johnson said maintaining a building is just good stewardship.
"It's part of taking care of your building. The maintenance and repair of a building," Johnson said. "Of course you kind of want to keep it the same. To keep the historic look."
In the past year, several buildings have undergone major renovations - inside and out.
Deb Fine, owner of Cocoa Safari said when she and her husband, Mike, bought the Main Street building in 2007, they knew many of the renovations they wanted to make.
"We knew right away that we wanted to take the tin facade off the walls. That's always been one of the top priorities," she said.
They have also taken out the building's vinyl windows and replaced them with wood.
Fine said making sure her buildings look nice is as much for her neighbors as it is for her.
"We take pride in our buildings," she said. "It's also for all the other merchants. When buildings look better, it's better for the whole street."
Andy Richmer, the owner and chef at Crystal and Jules, would agree.
Recently, his restaurant has replaced vinyl siding after a leak was found.
"Once we started tearing it out, we saw original poplar siding underneath."
Richmer said he spoke with the historic board and got approval to make the changes to the exterior.
"It looks a lot cleaner than the vinyl siding," he said.
Richmer also had an awning put up during the renovations.
Last summer, the owners of Ditto's on Main also did some remodeling. They had the outside of the home decor shop painted and then restored the inside of the building.
Part of the remodel, store co-owner Richard Sanders said, included removing a dropped ceiling.
"When people come in they usually notice the ceiling because it's like 11 feet high," Sanders said.
The walls were also taken down to the original brick.
"It's an old feel," he said. "We've tried to take it back to the original feeling."
Some of the remodels have come from necessity and haven't been purely cosmetic.
Joy Barron, owner of the Madison Animal Clinic, said the front of her building had bad insulation, which made this last winter tough.
"The receptionists at the front desk had to wear their winter coats while they were at work," she said.
The front facade of the building was replaced this spring. One of the biggest goals of the remodeling, she said, was to make sure the look of the building didn't change much.
"We wanted to make sure it looked nice. But we wanted to make sure it fit in with the historic look of downtown."
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