A business near downtown Knoxville celebrated thousands of dollars in renovations by throwing a party for their neighbors.

Gray Hodges held a street party and cookout to celebrate its 65th anniversary and the completion of facade improvements to its four buildings. They are located on Jessamine Street.

The cabinet and home fixture company received a grant as part of the city's Commercial Facade Program.

It enabled the company to replace fencing, signs and windows, and improve the outward appearance of the buildings.

"The nice thing about it, we were able to use part of the city's money in addition to our money and jointly, we had a joint effort, to beautify the inner city downtown. We've made Jessamine Street a gateway into the Old City," said Charlie Morgan, President of Gray Hodges.

Nearby contracting company Bittle and Sons also received a grant for facade improvements.

Since 2005, the program's awarded more than $3 million dollars to businesses in and around downtown Knoxville.

City leaders say it's money well spent, because it's sparked positive change in those communities.

You can get more information on the city's facade program here or by copying and pasting this link into your browser window: http://www.cityofknoxville.org/development/facade.asp

Read or Share this story: http://on.wbir.com/1gYeAy7