MILTON — The Milton Rotary Club recently welcomed Erica Grancagnolo of the Santa Rosa County Economic Development office.

Erica spoke to the club about the current Santa Rosa Improvement Vitalization Enterprise grant initiative (STRIVE) the county's Economic Development office is overseeing.

STRIVE provides commercial property and business owners grants for facade and signage improvements.

The first round is currently underway. Applications are being accepted until April 30, with a total of $50,000 available for grants this first round.

New or established businesses may receive up to $5,000 for facade improvements and $1,000 for signage countywide. They are intended for small businesses in the county — "mom and pop" type businesses, not national chains.

Owners who receive a grant and sell the business within one year have to pay back the grant money to the county. If they sell in their second year, they have to pay back half.

Studies have shown that these type of improvements can increase sales and rental revenue for the business owner.

Go to santarosaedo.com/strive or call the SRC Economic Development office at 981-2069 for more information or to download an application.