Façade Improvement Grant Program (FIGP)

Resource Material for the Facade Improvement Grant Program (FIGP)

Program Guidelines
The City of Pickens Façade Improvement Committee is responsible for administering a “Façade Improvement Grant Program”, intended to stimulate improvements to the exterior of commercial buildings in the Overlay Districts, identified as City Center Overlay District and the Gateway Overlay District.

The funding of this program is provided through the City and all activities relating to the funding of façade projects will be reported to the City of Pickens, City Council.

The City of Pickens Façade Improvement Grant Program (FIGP) provides financial assistance to commercial property owners and business owners in the City Center and Gateway Overlay Districts that qualify for façade improvements. The purpose of the Façade Improvement Program is to support the revitalization of the City’s Overlay Districts by stimulating private investments in high-quality improvements that enhance the appearance of buildings and properties and eliminate blight and non-conforming design standards.

The Overlay Districts:
City Center Overlay District boundaries are established as:

  • Main Street from Hampton Avenue to Bivens Street
  • Court Street From Main Street to Cedar Rock
  • Garvin Street from Main Street to Cedar Rock
  • Ann Street/Hwy 178N from Main Street to Baker Street
  • Hampton Ave./Hwy 178N from Main Street to Baker Street.
  • Pendleton Street from Main Street to W. Lee Street.

The Gateway Overlay District boundaries are established as:

  • All properties that have frontage on Highways 183, 178, and 8 that are not located in the City Center Overlay District.

Façade Improvement Committee
The Façade Improvement Committee (FIC) is a four person committee, consisting of the City Administrator, Assistant to City Administrator, Pickens Revitalization Association Director, and the City Planner. The FIC will present the selected applicants to the Board or Architectural Review, BAR, for final approval.

Maximum Allowable Award: The program provides for a one-time reimbursement grant with the amount not to exceed $5,000 with the business owner providing a match of 50%.

Example: If the applicant is awarded a grant in the amount $5,000 the business owner will have to match $2,500 toward façade improvements, making total improvements $7,500.

Eligible Applicants:
Eligible applicants include owners of commercial properties and owners/managers of businesses located in the designated districts within the City of Pickens. Business owners/managers who are leasing a building for which improvements are proposed must submit a letter from the owner giving consent and approval of proposed project plans with their completed application. Only businesses whose existing use is allowable by the City’s current codes and regulations are eligible for funding through the FIGP. The FIC reserves the right to deny funding to applicants who are delinquent on payment of fines or fees.

Eligible Expenditures:
For purposed of this program, eligible expenditures shall include expenses related solely to those exterior improvements, which are eligible for reimbursement, as outlined in the program guidelines and determined by the FIC; excludes expenditures related to interior improvements, ordinary repair and maintenance, improvements required as a result of code violations, or other expenditures deemed ineligible by the FIC.

Improvements must be consistent with recommendations set forth in master plans for the area in which the property is located.

All work must be completed by a licensed contractor, legally operating in the City of Pickens. The applicants should contact the City for assistance with permitting and business licensing.

Eligible improvements include exterior building improvements (cosmetic and/or
structural), signage, lighting, and landscaping, which are visible from the street.

o Examples

      •  Exterior painting or surface treatment
      •  Decorative awnings
      •  Window and/or door replacements or modifications
      •  Storefront enhancements
      •  Landscaping
      •  Irrigation
      •  Streetscape
      •  Outdoor patios and decks
      •  Exterior wall lighting
      •  Decorative post lighting and architectural features

Ineligible improvements include ordinary repair and maintenance, required improvements as a result of a violation notice or citation, site furnishings, amenities, non-permanent structures, and moveable equipment.

o Ordinary repair and maintenance defined as “any work, the purpose and effect of which is to correct or prevent any deterioration or decay of, or damage to a structure, site or any part thereof, and to restore the structure or site, as nearly as may be practicable, to its condition prior to such deterioration, decay, or damage using materials which are of a design, color, and outer appearance as close to practicable to the original.”

Application Review Documentation
All completed applications must be accompanied with the following items but not limited to plans, elevations, and estimate of repairs.

  1. Verification of property ownership (Title or Deed of Trust) or a letter from the property owner giving consent to perform the changes.
  2. Copy of a valid business license.
  3. Scope of work, timeline for project completion, and total estimate of project budget.
  4. Two color photos showing the existing building (front and all side elevations).
  5. A completed W9 form.

Application Deadline
Applications will be accepted year-round. Once the applications have been received the FIC will work together to review and determine the awards and inform all applicants within 30 days. Completed application packages must be delivered to City Hall at 219 Pendleton Street.

To read the resolution establishing the FAÇADE GRANT PROGRAM: download the 2012-03 Facade Grant Resolution.