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Niagara County launches 'Façade Program 2.0'


Fri, Mar 1st 2024 01:30 pm

Submitted by the Public Information Office

Following the success of its first façade program that was created in 2022, the Niagara County Legislature on Friday announced “Façade Program 2.0,” offering matching grants up to $50,000 for qualified business to make exterior capital improvements to their properties. The program is being run by the county’s Center for Economic Development.

“As a new legislator, I have heard mainly two things from businesses in my community about the original façade program,” said Legislator Chris McKimmie, a member of the county’s economic development committee. “The first was from those who took part in the program and raved about how beneficial it was to helping them invest in their business. The second was from those who, for whatever reason, failed to take part and lamented the missed opportunity. So, one of my goals was to work with my colleagues to fund a second round.”

Niagara County Economic Development Commissioner Mike Casale said “Façade 2.0” is looking for projects that, among other things, can jumpstart improvements of traditional downtowns; support the expansion of small businesses; address issues of code enforcement, energy efficiency and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance; and preserve significant or historic buildings.

“The original program helped 200 businesses and unlocked more than $10 million in total investment,” Casale said. “You can see firsthand many of the completed projects as you drive across the county. The program worked just as intended and we are hoping history will repeat itself with ‘Façade 2.0.’ ”

Eligible applicants for “Façade 2.0” include:

√ For-profit businesses that have been in business since or before January 2020

√ Not-for-profit organizations that have been operating since or before January 2020

√ Property owners (landlords) that have owned the property before January 2020

√ Lessees of space within building located in a qualified property (lessee must have occupied the spaced since or before January 2020)

Prior awardees of Niagara County Façade Program funding are eligible to apply, but preference will be given to new applicants 

Casale said information and applications for “Façade 2.0” can be found at https://www.niagaracountybusiness.com/facade-program-2.0. The deadline for application submission is 4 p.m. March 26. Given the requirements attached to the federal funds being used for the program, applicants must be able to complete projects by Oct. 31, 2024.

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