Why are we doing this?
There are several reasons why communities of all sizes benefit from façade improvements to downtown buildings, here are few:
- Investment attracts investment
- Improves the perception of the downtown, from residents as well as visitors
- Gains intergenerational support and fosters knowledge-sharing
- Builds local capacity, partnerships, and confidence in your community
- Drives economic development and job creation
- Results are maximized with this grant is applied in concert with a broader downtown revitalization initiative that looks at Upper story housing, improving streetscapes, and marketing/business recruitment
How does my building qualify?
The first priority for the project team will be to conduct a comprehensive building assessment of the city blocks in the downtown area. We can only assess the exterior portions of the buildings that face a roadway, so if your building is on a corner intersection, the sides of the building that are visible from both roads will be assessed for the level of deterioration. Elements that are analyzed include: main material of the building (brink, stucco, wood, etc.), abandoned/chronic vacancy, storefronts, doors/entryways, windows, porch/stairs/deck/ramp, exterior surfaces, foundation, and other significant features. Each of these elements is rated to be in a condition of poor, fair or excellent and ranked in terms of severity for the building as a whole. For example, a second-story window may be in 'poor' condition but the first floor storefront may be just as 'poor' and is in the 'worst' condition overall for the building. If a building reaches an overall 'Poor' rating, then it qualifies. In this example, the building will most likely qualify for improvements if it is located within the project area. See the images below for an example in Bloomfield, Iowa:
What is a Project Area?
Once our team has evaluated the buildings downtown and rated which ones were in poor, fair, or excellent condition, the boundaries of the Project Area can then be determined. The Project Area needs to include buildings of significance (historically, culturally, economically), building facades that have public access or significant visibility in and around downtown, and groupings of buildings that qualify. A strong application includes a Project Area that has qualifying buildings that are grouped closer together because this formation creates a more cohesive feel of improvements to the downtown area, as opposed to having the improvements spread throughout. Our team will take all of these factors into consideration when creating the Project Area. Following these criteria, here are some examples: