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The City of Litchfield has established the façade 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 of which are 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 Façade Grant Funds are offered in combination with matching funds.
Guidelines for Grants
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.
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. 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 Façade Grant program funds for the same property within one fiscal year. If the property is sold, ceases operations or changes hands within a 12-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:
To: City of Litchfield Economic Development Office120 East Ryder St.Litchfield, IL 62056Email: Sherman@cityoflitchfieldil.comPh: (217) 324-5253Fax: (217) 324-5619
The undersigned applicant agrees to comply with the guidelines and procedures of the Façade Grant Program.
(to be completed if an agent/tenant is used to represent the owner)
The Façade 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 Façade Grant Program funds for the same property within one fiscal year. If the property is sold, ceases operations or changes hands within a 12-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.
Whenever possible in designing a storefront, existing materials should be used; repairing rather than replacing. The following guidelines are appropriate for downtown façade improvements.
**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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Lights may not move or flash.
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