About the Program
The intent of the Main Street Retail Storefront Façade Improvement Program is to provide funding to improve the appearance of the Main Street area. The Program is designed to assist property and business owners rehabilitating the facades of ground floor storefronts to create a positive visual impact, stimulate private investment, and complement other community revitalization efforts.
For grant purposes, the Main Street Façade Improvement Program area is described as Main Street from Seventh Street to the Southeast end of Main Street, and includes Main Street’s side streets from U. S. Route 1 North to Fourth Street; also U.S. Route 1 and Second Street from the Patuxent River to Bowie Road and Lafayette Avenue from Main Street to Irving Street.
The application packet contains general conditions of the program and an application form. It is the intention of the Department of Economic and Community Development to make the application process as easy as possible.
The Department of Economic and Community Development will review the applications and select Projects that will provide a public benefit to Main Street area residents and business. The Department of Economic and Community Development will consider the following factors in determining the Project’s eligibility:
- Need for improvements/substandard condition of the building/façade
- Potential revitalization effects in the community
The following types of projects are specifically excluded from the Program:
- New construction
- National franchises
- Properties owned or occupied by the Government or other public agency
- Properties used entirely for residential purposes
- Large office buildings in excess of 80,000 square feet
- House of worship or other religious institutions
- Single family type structures
Improvements that contribute to the visual enhancement of the property as viewed from the public right-of-way are eligible. Improvements must be comprehensive, incorporating enhancements/additions to several components of the existing façade.
Examples of eligible improvements include:
- Lighting that is attached to the building
- Windows and Doors
- Stucco, Tile, or Masonry work
- Signage, Canopies, and Awnings
- Restoration of Historic Components of the Structure.
Ineligible improvements include roofs, non-permanent fixtures, security systems, personal property, interior window coverings, equipment, any improvements not visible from the right-of-way, foundation work, business equipment, fencing, landscaping, parking lot improvements, operating capital or refinancing and any improvements deemed to be inconsistent with redevelopment purposes and objectives.
To be eligible for this program, the property must have a ground floor storefront and be within the approved program area. The property must also be in need of improvements or in substandard condition.
If you are a business owner leasing space, you must have a current lease with a minimum of three (3) years remaining from the date of application, and written approval from the property owner to participate in the program and proceed with improvements. The property owner must agree to the filing of a lien against the improved property.
Only one (1) grant can be awarded per address in a three (3) year period. Grants applications will be accepted only as long as grant funds are available.
The Program provides participants the opportunity to receive a reimbursement not to exceed $5,000 for approved exterior renovations. Funds are limited based on Mayor and City Council annual budget appropriation and are awarded to qualifying projects in the order in which completed applications are received.
Grants applications shall be reviewed by the City Administrator, Director of Budget and Personnel Services, and Director of Economic and Community Development (review is to assure zoning, building permits, and application completion). Grant award amount will be recommended to the Mayor for approval. The Mayor may waive permit fees to achieve the goals of the Program.
The applicant must first have a pre-application meeting with a representative from the Department of Economic and Community Development to discuss the proposed renovations. The Department will then review the proposed package for Project and applicant eligibility and location/conformance to redevelopment objectives. The Department verifies whether there are any outstanding or pending code enforcement actions involving the subject property. The applicant will then be notified by the Department whether the Project and applicant are eligible. All plans must follow appropriate design guidelines and code requirements. Improvements made prior to the approval of the application and execution of the agreement are ineligible for reimbursement.
Please call (301) 725-5300 ext. 2302 for further information, copies of any documents, or to set up an appointment to discuss eligibility.
All improvements must conform to all Building Codes, Zoning Regulations, and Historic District Commission Guidelines of the City of Laurel and to criteria developed for this Program.
All appropriate City permits including, without limitation, building permits and other approvals must be obtained by the Participant prior to commencement of construction. Participant shall not commence work on the Project until receipt of appropriate permits and HDC approval.
The business owner or property owner must complete the application, and be prepared to comply with all City regulations. The Department of Economic and Community Development will administer the Main Street Storefront Façade Improvement Program.
Please call (301) 725-5300 ext. 2302 for further information, copies of any documents or to set up an appointment.