DADE CITY — Two weeks ago, a city commissioner called it the "ugliest building in downtown." Now work is under way to spruce it up.
After receiving an extension on his city grant to fix up his row of storefronts on Seventh Street, David Hernandez said he is pleased with the progress.
"My thanks to the commission for having the courage to think outside the box," Hernandez said at the Dade City Commission meeting Tuesday evening. "I bought that ugly lady just the way she is."
At one point in the meeting, Hernandez received a round of applause at the mention of improvements to the building, which will get a more modern-looking awning and fresh paint, among other fixups.
Within the past 10 days, contractors have applied a fresh coat of stucco to the bottom of most of Hernandez's ANPM Enterprises building. That completed the first phase of the four-phase renovation project.
Hernandez will receive city grants totaling $42,820 to pay for the improvements. He is married to City Commissioner Camille Hernandez, who recused herself from voting on the grant.
Normally the grant program requires businesses to pay for the work first, then get reimbursed when the project is finished. After a spirited debate a few weeks ago over the appearance of changing the rules for a city official's spouse, commissioners agreed to depart from the guidelines and give David Hernandez portions of that money after he completes each phase, to make the project more feasible.