Before

Before

After

After

The revitalization of a neglected commercial district often begins with improvements to a single building or storefront.  Even simple changes such as the removal of non-historic materials, repairs, or new paint that calls attention to the building’s original architectural details signal positive change and often stimulate similar improvements in neighboring buildings.

Façade improvement programs are incentive programs created to encourage property owners and businesses to improve the exterior appearance of their buildings and storefronts.

A report in the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Dollar & Sense series found that….

  • Commercial building improvements resulted in an increase in sales in the year after the improvements were made
  • Sales improvements were sustained for several years
  • Sales increases exceeded increases in local taxes
  • The improvements attracted new businesses and shoppers to the target area
  • Participants were often motivated to make additional improvements (such as to interior spaces or product lines)
  • Owner/tenants of properties and businesses in surrounding areas were motivated to make improvements

Fortunate for Downtown Excelsior Springs, the Downtown Excelsior Partnership has a Façade Grant Program in place to assist property and business owners with improvements to the building.  In June of 2016 the DEP Board of Directors allocated $10,000 in matching grant funds to support this project.  As of today there is still $6,500 available in the program.  We want our downtown property and business owners to use these funds to make needed improvements to their buildings.  To give everyone a better idea of what the program entails and what it can be used for we would like to share our grant guidelines, as well as the grant procedures.

Guidelines

  • Where practical, all buildings facades shall be restored to their original period design.  All buildings in a historic district must adhere to the Design Guidelines adopted by the Excelsior Springs Historic Preservation Commission.
  • All improvements, including painting to the exterior of a building, in a historic district must receive a Certificate of Appropriateness before grant funds will be approved and dispersed.
  • Funds shall be allocated on a first come first serve basis.  Only one grant may be awarded per property, per year.
    • All grant funds require a matching dollar for dollar expenditure by the owner/tenant.
      Funds may be awarded as follows:
      Up to $1,000 for facades, storefronts, awnings OR
      Up to $500 for permanent exterior signage
  • No work may begin until the grant as been awarded by the Downtown Excelsior Partnership.  Reimbursement will take place after all work is complete and has been inspected by DEP.
  • No grant monies or matching monies shall be used to perform general repair, structural or habitable work or otherwise to meet code to occupy the building.
  • Tenants may qualify to apply for grant funds upon receipt of written consent of the owner of the building.
  • No grants will be made to government-owned properties or to tenants in government owned properties.
  • Work done by the applicant requires and estimate from two outside sources to verify that costs are within reasonable parameters.
  • Larger project can apply for a low interest loan from the CDBG Revolving Loan Program through DEP.
  • Grants are available to both commercial and residential properties in the designated area
  • InVeSTment in DEP is required to receive this grant.

Grant Procedures

  • Fill out the application and checklist and submit one copy to the Downtown Excelsior Partnership, P.O. Box 513, Excelsior Springs, MO 64024 with all supporting documents by the 20th of the month.
  • The DEP Design Committee will review the project and submit the application to the DEP Board of Directors with their recommendation.
  • Projects will be submitted to the DEP Board of Directors at their monthly meeting, held the 2nd Wednesday of each month.
  • Once the Board of Directors has approved the project, written notice will be delivered and work can begin.  No work should start until written notification has been received.
  • Grantee is responsible for obtaining any permits required to do the project.  Cost of permitting cannot be a part of the grant funding.
  • Grantee must submit a paid bill for reimbursement together with an affidavit from the contractor certifying the work, as submitted, is complete.  Any unapproved changes will be void of the grant.  If grantee decides to change the project after approval, the DEP must be contacted first and proposed changes must be approved by the Board of Directors to qualify for grant funds.
  • When the project is complete, the DEP Design Committee will inspect the work and then reimburse grantee for one of the following:
    • 50% of an approved bill for signage, maximum $500
    • 50% of an approved façade bill, maximum $1,000
  • The DEP Board of Directors reserves the right to grant additional money to targeted projects that they believe will have a significant impact on the area.
  • Staff will be available to offer assistance and may seek outside guidance on any project being considered for the grant program.

So now that we are all aware of what the Downtown Excelsior Partnership Façade Grant Program entails we encourage all downtown property owners and business owners to apply for this grant and utilize the funds to better their properties.  For those interested in receiving the application, please contact Executive Director, Lyndsey M. Baxter, at exec@visitesprings.com.