Grant program helps downtown business owners give storefronts a face lift

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Businesses within Rochester's historic district (outlined in yellow) may be eligible for city assistance with enhancements to signage and building facades. (Courtesy photo/City of Rochester)

ROCHESTER - Rochester officials announced on Tuesday they will be relaunching a more flexible and improved Sign & Facade Program, a grant initiative for income eligible businesses and building owners in the city's Historic District.

"Programs like these help businesses maximize their investment to beautify their business facade, which has a ripple effect and revitalizing impact across the community," said senior planner Michelle Mears. "For example, if a business wants to highlight the historic architecture or a building's unique features, or install a new sign, their investment is going to go further."

She added, "With all of the wonderful grassroots revitalization efforts from the Rochester community, like Rochester Rise Up, Rochester Listens and Make Rochester Great, to name a few, this program is here to add another resource to make a big impact."

The city will make $10,000 available through the Community Development Block Grant to support this initiative this year. The program, spearheaded by Mears and CDBG Coordinator/Grants Manager Julian Long, will provide businesses and building owners a unique opportunity to invest in the exterior improvements, like storefronts, new signs or awnings.

"We're really excited about the potential of this program to benefit both our businesses and Rochester's downtown area," Long said. "We're eager to work with interested business owners and continue to build upon the numerous initiatives that are already working to make Rochester the best place it can be."

The funding available for this year is $10,000 on a first come, first serve basis for businesses located in the Historic District overlay. Applications are available online and in the Planning and Development Department. Funding may be made available for future years, depending on the level of interest.

For more information about the City of Rochester New Hampshire's Sign & Facade Program call Mears at 603-335-1338.

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