GRANTS PASS – More than $30,000 remains available to assist downtown building owners with giving their structures a face lift. The Grants Pass Building Facade Matching Grant Fund encourages owners of commercial buildings to restore the exterior facades of their buildings to the original design and character. Funds are available for a wide variety of activities that can improve the historic appeal of the properties within the designated boundaries.
“Grants Pass possesses a unique downtown environment that centers on a historic district with buildings that date back to the turn of the 20th century. These buildings, which are largely un-reinforced masonry construction, represent an aesthetic that gives the downtown its character and charm,” said Susan Seereiter, business advocate for the city’s Economic Development Department. “However, older buildings can present maintenance issues that are expensive, and seldom are they current with building and safety codes,” she said.
The purpose of the facade improvement grants is to provide for the restoration and renovation of these buildings and others in designated areas within the city to increase the overall appearance as well as the potential usability and aesthetic of those structures. Eligible buildings include commercial structures within the Central Business District, as well as those along 6th and 7th Streets between the I-5 interchange and the Rogue River.
“It is the intent of the city to encourage property owners of commercial buildings to restore the exterior facades of the building to the original design and character,” said Seereiter.
Eligible projects include professional design services, exterior restoration, cleaning and painting, masonry repair and maintenance, repairing or replacing doors, windows, porches, awnings, cornices, traditional signs, and other decorative details. Funds are limited to a one-time maximum matching grant of up to $5,000 per applicant/building.
Ineligible projects include working capital, inventory, acquisition, financing, landscaping, interior renovations, and modern signage. Grant funded projects must be feasible and have a reasonable prospect of imminent building use upon completion. Properties with existing code violations are prohibited from participation unless the proposed project will address and correct the existing issues.
All exterior improvements located within the city’s Historical District are to be approved by the Historical Buildings and Sites Commission, in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation Guidelines.
Applicants must submit a completed application and required detailed information with particulars on the feasibility of the project. All applications will be reviewed on a quarterly basis. Applications are due by the final day of each calendar quarter. Awards will be made before the end of the immediately following calendar quarter and monies will be issued based on compliance with established criteria. No awards will be made prior to the application deadline and the program will continue each quarter until monies are exhausted.
Priority for the grants will be awarded to projects showing significant improvements to the property that will lead to prospective and likely reuse.
“This program has the potential to upgrade the physical and economic characteristics of the downtown by improving the value of buildings on major thoroughfares in the Grants Pass Historic District,” Seereiter said.
Applications and Guidelines for the program are available at the Grants Pass Municipal Building, Administrative Department, 101 Northwest "A" Street, Grants Pass, Oregon.