Attention downtown businesses! The Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance Economic Development Committee is again offering a competitive grant program in order to provide funds to downtown businesses to improve the physical appearance of their buildings. The pool for this year’s grants is $12,500, and the application can be found here on our website. Applications for this round of grants are due by July 31 at the HDR office (212 S. Main St.).
The goal of the Façade Enhancement Grant is to keep improving the physical appearance of the downtown area by making storefronts more attractive. One of last year’s recipients, Valerie Smith of Larkin Arts, said, “One great thing about the program is it allows the unique personality of a building and business to shine through.” Prior to receiving a grant, Larkin Arts lacked a sign, had rusty floodgate posts, and an overall flat façade, but now has become a unique and distinguishable building on Court Square. Smith said that having a vibrant exterior is important because people spread news about your building through word of mouth and it helps to bring in foot traffic off the street.
The improvements allowed under the grant program are not limited to just façades and signs, but can also include murals and landscaping work. Awards will be based on appropriateness, creativity, timeliness, and visual impact with priority given to improvements containing non-disposable, tangible assets. Additionally, being selected for a grant does not exclude a business from having to obtain the proper sign and/or building permits from the city.
Timeline for this round of grants:
- July 31, 2013- Applications due to the HDR office by 4:00 pm
- August, 30, 2013- Recipients of grants announced
- April 1, 2014- Goal for grant-funded work to be completed
- April 30, 2014- Deadline for reimbursement paperwork to be submitted to HDR
One of the best parts of the Façade Enhancement Grants is that the improvements to each business are something everyone can see and enjoy. Many downtown businesses have received grants in previous years, and we’ve included a look below at some of last year’s grant-funded projects.
Michael Ryan is the Summer 2013 Organizational Management Intern for Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance.