About the Facade Improvement Grant Program
Façade improvement grant programs are an integral part of the activities of a community redevelopment agency because they help to revitalize and bring new life, as well as new investment, into these communities. Façade improvements and enhancements assist in increasing the aesthetic nature of the area and also serve as an important aspect in attracting additional private-sector development.
In Rockledge, the Community Redevelopment Agency administers the Façade Improvement Grant Program, which provides matching grant funding in an amount up to $10,000.00. Funding awarded through the program to eligible applicants and projects can be utilized to refurbish the exteriors of a property that are visible to pedestrian and motor vehicle traffic.
Improvements that qualify for grant funding can include landscaping, signage, installation of artificial rooflines, decorative lighting, fencing, and enhancements to pavement, curbing and parking lots (when combined with other beautification elements). In an effort to ensure adherence to the objectives of the Community Redevelopment Plan, particular design guidelines that are encouraged by the Redevelopment Agency are discussed with applicants as they begin to formulate their projects.
Furthermore, an inventive use of the Program can help businesses that wish to start-up in the Redevelopment District through offering incentive awards by providing grant funding for impact fees and other related fees. In the past, the Agency has paid up to 50 percent of the impact fees and has offered the business owner a deferred repayment schedule for the remaining 50 percent.
With the recent completion of the Barton Boulevard streetscape project and the U.S. 1 expansion and streetscape project, the Agency witnessed a resurgence of merchants with a renewed interest in improving their properties, and a sizeable number of property owners within the Redevelopment District have applied for and received façade grants.
Since the Program’s inception in 2004, the Agency has funded 51 successful projects and awarded over $374,000.00 in grant funding, which has led to nearly $900,000.00 in improvements and renovations. Eleven façade improvement grant projects are currently in progress, and Agency staff is working with a number of other interested applicants.
Without question, enhancing the aesthetic nature of an area leads directly to achieving one of the main objectives of a community redevelopment agency—increasing private-sector investment in the region, which thereby augments the tax base and paves the way for greater economic development opportunities.
In order to demonstrate its appreciation to these businesses for helping to beautify the community, the Agency has implemented the Façade Improvement Grant Award Program to further showcase their efforts. Upon completion of a project, businesses are awarded a Certificate of Appreciation, and the Agency Board votes on the “Façade Improvement Project of the Year.” To be eligible for nomination, façade projects must have made a sizeable impact on improving the visual quality of the area. The first-ever winner of this award was the Barton Boulevard Sunoco in 2011, which underwent an amazing transformation, followed by Harbor Auto Restoration in 2012. Rockledge Health and Rehabilitation Center garnered the award for 2013.