Façade Grant Funding Available For Businesses

BERLIN – Town officials are encouraging merchants and property owners to apply for façade grant funds if they’re considering exterior improvements to their buildings.

Ivy Wells, the town’s director of economic and community development, said this week the town has $50,000 in funding available for façade grants. Because the program has become so popular, however, those interested have to apply by April 14.

“There are so many people that want to apply we needed to set a deadline so we can review all of the projects at once,” she said.

For years, the town has offered a façade grant program with funding from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. The program allows merchants and property owners to apply for matching grants that range from $2,500 to $15,000. The applicant pays for the project and the grant reimburses          qualified expenses. Projects eligible for funding include exterior painting, removing inappropriate exterior finishes, restoring exterior finishes, reconfiguring entrances, signs, exterior building and sign lighting, addition or replacement of awnings and windows, among other items.

This is the first year the town has set a deadline for the program. Wells said that decision came after she was approached by numerous individuals interested in applying for funding.

“We’re going to set a deadline because we only have $50,000 and the amount that people are going to be requesting more than doubles that,” she said. “Historically we used to accept applications as they came in because there wasn’t so much of a demand.”

She said interest was high because of the construction underway in town and because of the new businesses getting ready to open up.

Applications will be due April 14 and a façade grant committee will review each one.

“We’re going to go through the applications and we may have to adjust our grant amounts so everyone gets some of the funding,” Wells said. “I think that’s the fair way to do it.”

The facade grant program is meant to encourage building renovation, historic preservation and improved economic vitality by supporting upgrades to downtown buildings. For more information, visit the economic development tab on the town’s website, berlinmd.gov.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.