New Façade Program to Encourage Economic Development
The Bristol Development Authority (BDA) recently launched the Downtown/West End Façade Improvement Program to strengthen the economic viability of Downtown and West End businesses. By helping to improve the exterior appearance of storefronts and commercial buildings, the City hopes to attract quality businesses that foster economic growth while combating negative perceptions of these critical areas of the City. I believe in the “broken windows” theory in which crime and other undesirable activity gravitate toward blight and run-down establishments. This program is part of a larger quality-of-life focus for my administration to help create safe and attractive neighborhoods that residents, property owners, and business owners can be proud of.
The BDA will offer 50% grant awards, up to $25,000, for design and construction for a variety of façade projects, including new signage, windows, doors, paint, stucco or other siding material, brick work, and more. The BDA staff are excited to work with applicants through each step of the process, from obtaining project quotes, to aiding in the grant application process, to even helping choose paint colors or materials. And while the City can only provide 50% grants, BDA staff is ready to work with business owners to secure other financing to complete the projects.
Funding for this program is provided by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, which stipulates that funds can only be used in designated downtown and West End areas. Eligible properties must be current on property taxes and must be deemed safe and capable of occupancy. Properties that are exclusively residential in nature, home-based business that are not assessed for commercial use, municipal buildings, and religious institutions are not eligible.
For more information on the program, and to learn if your business or building is eligible, contact the BDA at 860-584-6185 or log on to www.bristolct.gov/bda