EVART \u2014 At Nick\u2019s Barber Shop in downtown Evart, you can get a haircut for $10. From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. customers visit the shop, which neighbors a vacant building. The building was once Evart\u2019s post office, and has since housed various businesses and a church, but none for very long. Now that building is one of 12 standing vacant on Main Street. Although business has been steady for him, the vacant buildings keep people away from Main Street, said owner Nick Hurick. \u201cMore businesses would get people down here,\u201d Hurick said. More businesses are just what the city hopes to attract with an \u201cempty building ordinance.\u201d The ordinance would ensure owners are doing all they can to minimize the time their buildings remain empty. \u201cWe feel that there has not been enough effort (by business owners) to get people into these buildings,\u201d said Evart Mayor Eric Schmidt. Many buildings, like the one next to Hurick\u2019s barber shot, were left vacant from business owners who rented buildings for one or two months and then moved out due to a failed business or change of location. The city wants owners to make those spaces look presentable to interested parties, instead of leaving them untouched. The council hopes the ordinance will accomplish that. \u201cIf you don\u2019t have it rented, maybe just put some kind of fake fa\u00e7ade on the front, so it looks like they\u2019re open,\u201d Schmidt said. Jan Booher, owner of Details salon on Main Street, thinks the vacant buildings would make an excellent place for a display of local art work. \u201cIt\u2019s not a good picture of our town,\u201d Booher said. \u201cWould it be that difficult to get an art class to display what they have done in one of these empty buildings?\u201d If building owners want to sell their building, the ordinance would require them to list it with a relator and make the space look presentable. Schmidt encourages downtown vacant building owners to partner with the Downtown Development Authority for help in renovating their buildings to look better. In September 2010, the Evart DDA approved the Evart Downtown Fa\u00e7ade and Building Improvement Program to help business owners improve the physical appearance of buildings. Downtown businesses such as Northon\u2019s Shire Bookshop and Unit Assistance have utilized the program and received up to $6,000 to improve their buildings. The application for the program can be found at www.evart.org. Since the first time the \u201cempty building ordinance\u201d was discussed, City Manager Zack Szakacs has received many phone calls from building owners concerned about getting taxed, but Schmidt said the ordinance will not include a tax. \u201cOur goal isn\u2019t to add taxes to the building. We want to let them know that there are options,\u201d Schmidt said. City Attorney Jim White is researching similar policies implemented by other cities and potential consequences for non-compliance by business owners. More information on the proposed ordinance will be presented at the next city council meeting to be held at 7 p.m. on Feb. 20 at Evart City Hall.