The Niagara County façade program (NCFP) will have a significant impact in helping small businesses in Niagara Falls and the Town of Niagara, according to the four county legislators who represent the area. Legislators Chris Robins, Mark Grozio, Jeffrey Elder and Chris Voccio said 43 projects were approved by the county in the two municipalities, representing close to $1.2 million in investment. The legislature has allocated $5.2 million to the program, and more than 200 applications countywide have been approved by the county’s Center for Economic Development.
“This is a tremendous investment that hopefully shows a new commitment on the part of the legislature to support initiatives in every region of the county, including Niagara Fall and the Town of Niagara,” Minority Leader Robins said. “The façade program is a great example of bipartisan teamwork to help businesses rebound from the pandemic and reinvigorate our business districts.”
Voccio said, “As a new legislator, my focus is working to improve the district I represent, and I am more than happy to reach across the aisle to my colleagues who also represent Niagara Falls to get things done.”
The NCFP will provide dollar-for-dollar matching funds up to $50,000 to for-profit businesses, property owners or lessees who were already operational prior to 2020. These grants must be used for permanent improvements to the business and/or façade, such as signage, siding, exterior paint, roofing, windows and doors, stairs and ramps, walkways, decking, awnings and exterior lighting. The project must be located within a well-defined business district and must be able to demonstrate support from a local elected official that the project will have a beneficial impact to, and is consistent with, community development plans for the business district.
“I think the NCFP really filled a need for many of our small businesses who, after surviving the pandemic, just didn’t have the funds to invest in their exteriors of their properties,” Grozio said. “And we know these grant dollars will get recirculated through our local economy with local contractors performing the work.”
Elder added,” I look at the NCFP as not only an investment in these businesses, but an investment in sprucing up our community. These funds will help refresh the look and feel of an area, and that’s key in attracting more shoppers and additional economic activity.”