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Façade Grant Information & Application

  1. The City of Litchfield has established the facade grant program to aid in the revitalization of the downtown area. The Program is available for properties located in the downtown redevelopment study area and within the TIF District and must be in good standing with the City of Litchfield. The City has earmarked funding for this Program from the TIF funds. Once allocated resources are depleted, no additional grants may be made under this program without the direct action of the City Council. The City holds authorization of all Program funds and is not required to make awards to individual applicants. The Facade Grant Funds are offered in combination with matching funds.

     Guidelines for Grants

    • $10,000/Level 1 Grant - one grant allocated per fiscal year unless otherwise approved by City Council; 50/50 matching grant up to $10,000
    • $5,000/Level 2 Grant - two grants allocated per fiscal year unless otherwise approved by City Council; 50/50 matching grant up to $5,000
    • $2,500/Level 3 Grant - multiple grants allocated per fiscal year; 50/50 matching grant up to $2,500
    • Emergency Roof Grant - multiple grants allocated per fiscal year, provided there is funding; 70/30 private to grant matching grant up to $10,000

     The grants are subject to availability of funds appropriated to the program. In-kind services, meaning services completed by the property owner, cannot be used to meet the 50% match.  All quotes for the projects must itemize labor and materials separately; itemized receipts for materials must also be turned in with the paid invoice. Projects are expected to be completed within 180 days following City Council approval unless approved by the City. Any contractor involved with the project must carry liability insurance and workman's compensation coverage to be eligible for award funds and provide a certificate of insurance to the City.

     Applicants may receive no more than two grants per year. Each property may receive only one grant per year. Applications will be evaluated on a competitive basis. When projects have equal merit, priority will be given to first time applicants. Evaluation will include the applicant's impact on the overall downtown redevelopment area. The project site must be inspected by a City official before beginning the work and upon completion of the project. Applicants for Emergency roof grant must include a copy of a roof inspection report stating current condition of the roof structure and covering by a licensed roofing installer along with a copy of their State of Illinois roofing license. Approved grants will be awarded on a reimbursement basis only after applicants have completed the project and have demonstrated full compliance with grant requirements. Any project that meets only partial compliance of the guidelines will not be approved. Any approved project that violates the guidelines after completion of said project, may be disqualified from receiving future grants for additional projects. You may not request or receive Facade Grant program funds for the same property within one fiscal year. If the property is sold, ceases operations or changes hands within a 24-month period from receiving the grant funds, the total amount of the grant funds received must be reimbursed to the City of Litchfield within 60 days of notification.  The grant cycle is based upon the City of Litchfield fiscal year, which is May 1st through April 30th, of each year. The final award of funding will be approved by the Litchfield City Council. The City Council generally meets the first and third Thursday of each month, with the Façade Grant Committee meeting prior to the placement of the application on the City Council Agenda.

    Applications will begin the review process only when complete with all required information. Please submit the complete application, including:

      Completed application form

    Detailed drawings of the building facade/sign, including information which will assist in understanding the scope of the project, such as:

    1. Building Materials
    2. Colors (paint chips, brick/stone color, etc. Must meet approved colors.)
    3. Exterior Lighting
    4. Window and door types
    5. Architectural detailing
    6. Awnings
    7. Roof Inspection for Emergency Roof Applicants

    At least two (2) independent quotes from qualified contractors on the cost of completing the proposed work.  Contractors must carry liability insurance and have workman's compensation coverage and provide certificate.

    Labor and materials MUST be itemized separately. Prevailing wage must be paid for any project supported by a Façade Grant.

    Please indicate which contractor you are likely to have perform the work and why. Use of local contractors is encouraged when possible.

     Return To:     
    City of Litchfield 
    Economic Development Office 
    120 E. Ryder St.
    Litchfield, IL 62056
    Ph: (217) 324-8151
    Fax: (217) 324-5619

  2. Which façades are to be improved?
  3. Have you previously received Façade Grant money for this property?
  5. The undersigned applicant agrees to comply with the guidelines and procedures of the Façade Grant Program.

  6. I, the undersigned, certify that all labor services included in this project application are compensated according to the State of Illinois Prevailing Wage Act. The undersigned, shall be solely responsible to determine compliance with applicable laws, including, but not limited to, the application and payment of Prevailing Wages related to the project, and agrees to indemnify, defend and hold harmless the city in connection therewith.*
  7. I also certify that the information contained in this application and all attachments is true and correct to the best of my knowledge.*
  8. Owner's Authorization

    (to be completed if an agent/tenant is used to represent the owner)

  9. I, being the registered owner of the subject lands hereby authorize the following to prepare and submit this application for a façade improvement grant.
  10. Façade Grant Program Design Guidelines

    The Facade Grant Program encourages the renovation of existing structures that recreate the original facade. Award will only be granted to projects that meet the eligibility requirements and that restore as close as possible the original image of the property. Projects will be awarded on a competitive basis. In a situation where projects have equal merit, priority is given to first time applicants. All projects must meet local building codes and be approved through the Building Department by submitting plans and obtaining a building permit when necessary. The project site must be inspected before the work begins; for this reason, applications must be received before the project is started. There are no exceptions.

    Depending on the project, inspections may take place throughout the duration of the project; a final inspection will take place once the project is complete. If the applicant wishes to begin the project before final City Council approval, it will be at their own risk.

     The guidelines are for general use to preserve the historical integrity of the downtown. Meeting the guidelines does not indicate approval of grant. Each grant will be considered, but the Program is competitive among all applicants. Applications will not be reviewed by the Facade Grant Committee unless complete with all required information. Projects with partial compliance with guidelines will not be approved.

     You may not request or receive Facade Grant Program funds for the same property within one fiscal year. If the property is sold, ceases operations or changes hands within a 24-month period from receiving the grant funds, the total amount of the grant funds received must be reimbursed to the City of Litchfield within 60 days of notification.

  11. Façade/Storefront Materials

    Whenever possible in designing a storefront, existing materials should be used; repairing rather than replacing. The following guidelines are appropriate for downtown facade improvements.
    1.  Storefront Frame - wood, cast iron, anodized aluminum or brick.
    2.  Display Windows - clear glass
    3.  Entrance - wood, aluminum or steel
    4.  Sidewalls - wood panels, polished stone, glass, tile or brick
    5.  Storefronts Cornice - wood, cast iron, stone or formed concrete

     **Certain materials should never be used on the traditional commercial buildings where they have no relationship to the original design themes and, therefore, violate the consistency of the building's appearance. Such inappropriate materials may include cultured stone, rough textured wood siding, wooden shingles, vinyl or metal siding (typical of residential construction materials) and gravel or stucco materials (synthetic material that has a stone or brick look, is an eligible material but not encouraged.)

  12. Rear Façade

    In most instances, customers do not enter in the rear of downtown businesses. However, if rear parking is available or if the rear of the facility is visible by the public, the upkeep and maintenance of the rear facade becomes extremely important.

     1.  Rear Entryways - Entrances should be compatible with surrounding buildings. A small sign should be included in the design as to designate the business. An awning should be considered with rear entrances to aid customers in inclement weather.
    2.  Enclosed Dumpsters/Loading Areas - Every attempt should be made to make attractive the normal service equipment such as trash dumpster and loading areas. A gate closure system should be in place for the aesthetics as well as safety of the public. The structure shall be no more than six feet in height and create a visual barrier. The enclosed area should be constructed with brick, wood or vinyl fencing.

  13. Windows

    Every attempt should be made to preserve and retain each window, its function and any decorative details still remaining such as etching or beveled glass. Effort should be made to match original windows. Windows may not be permanently filled or closed in. With committee approval, windows may be increased or decreased in size up to 20% of current size. Clear/etched or stained glass is preferred.

  14. Doors/Entryway

    The entry into a storefront often can be the focus on the facade. Maintaining a traditional entry door(s) can contribute to the overall character of the façade. Every effort should be made to maintain or repair the original door. 

    1. A new door should be with the same design and proportions as the original and made of wood, steel, standard aluminum or fiberglass.
    2. A glass insert within the entrance door is required.
    3. Improvements to meet accessibility requirements are encouraged and eligible for grants.
  15. Masonry & Tuck Pointing

    Weathering of masonry also involves the mortar joints. If cleaning takes place, new mortar joints should be included in the project. The new mortar should be filled and finished to match the depth and style intended in the original work. Mortar should be pigmented to match any existing color. 

    1. Cleaning masonry to preserve and protect its surface is eligible for funding. Professional services expenses to clean masonry may be conducted in three methods: Water, Chemical or Abrasive.
  16. Exterior Lighting
    1. All light fixtures must be harmonious with the overall building design.
    2. Mounting of light fixtures is limited to the first floor.

    Lights may not move or flash.

  17. Awnings & Canopies
    1. All awnings must be made of vinyl/weather resistant fabric and of an approved color. Canopies must be made of materials that complement the overall character of the Downtown Redevelopment Area. 
    2. Vinyl cloth/look fabrics are superior to canvas materials as sun fading, wind damage, and weathering are minimized.
    3. "Stick-built" or wood framed/shingled awnings are not consistent with the historical theme and are not available for matching funds. 
    4. Awnings and canopies must be attached directly to the building without requiring poles or sidewalk supports.
    5. Awnings that feature a business name or log are subject to the sign permit fee. This is not an eligible Façade Grant expense.
    6. With approval, only one quote is required under certain conditions.
    7. Color guidelines are the same as Color/Paint #2
  18. Color/Paint
    1. Bright or brilliant colors or the color black shall be for accent and limited to 20% of the building facade.
    2. The color scheme within the Downtown Redevelopment Area should be used to create a community district. Colors for masonry, mortar, signage, paints and awnings should complement the schemes of the adjacent buildings if they meet the redevelopment guidelines. It is strongly encouraged that projects use colors chosen from the Benjamin Moore Historical Color Collections. Colors are required to be approved in advance to be eligible for grant award. 
    3. Wall surfaces not previously painted such as brick, terra cotta, and stone should remain unpainted.
  19. Emergency Roof

    Definition: Emergency Roofing means work necessary to prevent immediate destruction or dilapidation to real property or structural fixtures therefore rapidly threatening the structural integrity. 

    1. Accepted roofing materials for up to $10,000.00 reimbursement:

      • PVC (polyvinyl chloride)
      • TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin)
      • EDPM (rubber)
      • Commercial Steel 

    These are required to be installed by a certified, licensed roofing contractor to receive 50%, up to $10,000.00 grant share.

    2. Accepted roof coating for up to $5,000.00 reimbursement:

      • High grade acrylic spray or roll on coating, if applying over a solid, prepared surface.
      • This is also required to be installed by a certified, licensed roofing contractor to receive 50%, up to $5,000.00 grant share.

     *No Patch Work will be allowed for grant funding.   

     **All quotes and types of materials to be used must be approved by city prior to start of project.

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