WATERVILLE — Downtown property owners and commercial tenants may apply for help in improving the visual appearance of their buildings as part of a grant program established by the Central Maine Growth Council.

The Facade & Building Improvement Grant is designed to help restore, renovate, redevelop, and repair commercial buildings downtown and help property owners and commercial tenants make capital improvements to building facades, according to Garvan Donegan, the Growth Council’s director of planning and economic development.

The Growth Council is an economic development resource in central Maine that seeks to foster a robust regional economy through collaborative partnerships among businesses, governments, academic institutions, health care facilities, arts and cultural agencies, and residents.

The Facade & Building Improvement Grant seeks to encourage new and existing property owners and businesses to invest in their commercial storefronts, awnings, and signs while restoring the original character of historic buildings, a Growth Council news release says. It also seeks to provide a catalyst for others to improve the visual appearance of their privately owned buildings.

Building facade improvements can include, but are not limited to lighting, signs, awnings; restoration of doors, windows, storefront or façade rehabilitation; painting; and accessibility improvements. Buildings eligible include commercial properties within the core downtown district, defined as along Front, Main, Temple and Appleton streets, The Concourse, and the northern end of Water Street.

“This Facade and Building Improvement Grant Program will help our local downtown businesses and retailers in a very tangible way and help propel new businesses to enter the district,” Donegan said. “The improvements funded through this program will make existing businesses increasingly inviting places to shop, work, and recreate, while revitalizing streetscapes and commercial corridors in the downtown.”

The program, supported by Colby College and the Bill and Joan Alfond Foundation, will provide $60,000 in funding, and the Growth Council is now accepting applications. The grants will be made available to applicants on a competitive selection basis, and projects are expected to begin in the 2019 spring construction season. The grant program is a reimbursement program with a 1-to-1 match requirement that includes three distinct grant opportunities: small project grants up to $2,000, façade improvement grants up to $10,000, and building improvement and special projects grants with the amount determined on a case-by-case basis.

Those wanting more information on the program may contact the Growth Council at 680-7300, email [email protected], or visit the downtown section of the Growth Council’s website at www.centralmaine.org.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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