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Posted on: October 23, 2019

City Re-Launches Façade Improvement Program

28 Monument Square - After

The City of Portland’s Economic Development Department is re-launching the Façade Improvement Program. The Program is focused on commercial storefronts on Washington Avenue (from Congress Street to Gould Street Common) and St. John Street (from Congress to D Street). Because the first round of funding did not use up all of the available Program funds, the City is inviting commercial property and business owners in these targeted areas to apply for grant funding for façade improvement work.  

The Program assists with grants up to $20,000 or as small as $500 to rehabilitate commercial storefronts and/or replace deteriorated and poor quality commercial signs and awnings. Grants must be matched by an equal or greater amount of private investment. 

Applications are due no later than Tuesday, November 26th at 3:00 PM.  Completed applications may be emailed to nrh@portlandmaine.gov or dropped off in Room 308 (Economic Development Department), at City Hall.  Further information about the Program as well as an application can be found online at http://www.portlandmaine.gov/557/Facade-Improvement-Program. Applicants are encouraged to contact Nelle Hanig, (207-756-8019) the Program Manager, prior to submitting an application in order to discuss their projects. 

After four rounds of Portland’s Façade Improvement Program, three on Congress Street and one on Washington Avenue and St. John Street, the City and its partners (private property and business owners) have achieved a great deal. The results include 16 rehabilitated storefronts, eight new signs, seven new awnings and two theater marquees. Still in process are two storefronts undergoing renovation and another in the design phase on Washington Avenue. To date, the Program has provided $209,000 in grants that have been matched by $470,000 in private investment. 

“The best news is that nearly $700,000 has been invested in improving commercial storefronts in these targeted areas of the city,” said Nelle Hanig of the City’s Economic Development Department. “This has certainly contributed to more vibrancy in our commercial districts.”

The Economic Development Department teams up with the Department of Planning and Urban Development to administer the Façade Improvement Program. Funding comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant. 

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