Facade Improvement Program

Warsaw Downtown Association

What is the Warsaw Downtown Association’s Facade Improvement Program?

        The program offers up to $5,000 in matching funds and design assistance to building and business owners in the commercial district of the Village of Warsaw to improve the appearance of individual building facades, signs and awnings, as well as the overall look of downtown Warsaw.
       The goal of this program is to leverage private improvements while making revitalization efforts affordable, creative and community-based.
        The Facade Improvement Program is administered by an appointed administrator of the Design Committee of  Warsaw Downtown Association.    The Committee is made up of   Village/Town business and property owners and residents, some of whom have design expertise and others who just want to improve the physical appearance of the community.  

Who can apply for funding?
Any building owner or store proprietor/tenant with lease authority or authorization from his/her owner can apply for funding. The project site must be located in Warsaw’s Central Business District.
Tenants must have a minimum of two years remaining on their lease or an option to renew. 

What is the deadline for submission of applications?
Applications should be submitted to the program administrator on or before May 26, 2005.

What are the minimum grant awards?
Applicants must apply for a grant award that exceeds $2,000.

What types of improvements are eligible for funding?
Priority for funding will be given to complete façade renovations.  See Tier System below. 

Are there any design guidelines?

Projects must conform to the Warsaw Zoning Code (as may be amended) or obtain zoning relief.

Projects must also meet the approval of the Warsaw Downtown Association’s  Façade Improvement Program Design Committee according to its guidelines.     Please click  guidelines   for the full  guidelines.

Tier System.  Two tiers have been established for the May 2005 matching grant program. Tier One proposals will be given the highest priority. Tier One proposals include a total facade improvement that closely follow the renderings of In Site: Architecture.   Façade improvement proposals which express the spirit of  In Site:  Architecture’s design will be accepted and funded.

Tier Two matching funds will be available only if funds are available after all Tier One improvement funds have been awarded.

Note:  Some buildings may not need a complete facade renovation to be consistent with the continuity of original downtown architecture. Minor changes such as an awning or a sign or door may be all that is needed.  In such case or where the owner lacks the financial resources to complete a total façade renovation, such owner or applicant may apply for Tier Two improvements.

Tier Two Improvements include signage, lighting, new door installations and awnings.

Do No Harm.   Tier Two applicants who do not propose a complete façade renovation but who wish to secure funds for Tier Two improvements such as awnings, signage, lighting, etc., must agree that they will not expend any money  for concurrent or future façade changes which are inconsistent with or contrary to  the Design Committee’s  guidelines.  For example, the applicant must agree that  he/she  will not install backlit or vinyl signs or use paint colors  not listed on the  approved historical color charts of national paint dealers.

How is the money awarded?
This is a matching grant program.  This means that the applicant pays a portion of the improvement and the WDA  pays a portion. The amount of the match must be at least 1:1—the applicant pays $1 and WDA  pays $1. However, there is a maximum grant contribution by  the WDA of $5,000 per project.

Work completed prior to issuance of  letter of commitment is  eligible for funding. Improvements made before the actual grant program begins may be retroactively reimbursed if improvements follow closely the Design Committee’s Guidelines and the spirit of  In Site:Architectural drawing of the applicant’s building.

Grant funds are disbursed on a reimbursement basis and cannot be paid until the proposed project has been completed. 

Before a check is cut, applicants will need to submit proof of payment for completed work .  The  Design Committee’s administrator  must review the completed project to determine that the actual work performed was the work  approved. 

How does the application process work?
First, applicants should meet with the program administrator and then complete an application.  Design assistance will be provided free of charge by In-Site Architecture.  Each owner/ tenant will be provided a proposed design.  The applicant may elect to make an alternative design proposal, which proposal must be in the spirit of the design rendered by In-Site:  Architecture.  When the  application has been reviewed, applicants will be asked to provide additional information.  A full application includes color samples and cost estimates.  (Two bids are required.  On larger projects and at the discretion of the committee, a third bid may be requested.)     Click   application  for  the application form.

The Design Committee will review the application and will vote and deliver  its recommendation to the administrator by Thursday, June 16, 2005.   The Design Committe will review an application plan in the best light favorable to the applicant.

Every effort will be made to speed the process. Following review and approval of the application, the  applicant will receive a letter of commitment from the  program administrator  for the specified amount with information on any other requirements or stipulations agreed to by the applicant and the committee.

  The applicant can then proceed with securing necessary building permits if required.   

Funds will be released to the applicant upon completion, inspection and documentation of matching funds. 

If an application is denied, a new application can be submitted during the next funding round. 

How are projects selected for funding?
Each  application will be reviewed and selected based on its compatibility with the vision and goals of the  WDA’S Façade Improvement Program and its impact on the district.  

What happens after a project is selected for funding?

Work selected for a matching grant must be completed within eight (8) months of approval of the application, unless extended by the WDA’s Façade Design Committee.   (Time-extension forms are available from the administrator.)  The applicant is responsible for obtaining all building permits and any other required permits for the work to be done. The applicant is responsible for conformance with all applicable safety standards and conditions. The applicant also agrees to maintain the property and improvements for a period of seven (7) years.

The Warsaw Downtown Association may promote an approved project including, but not limited to, displaying a WDA  sign at the site, during and after construction, and using  photographs and descriptions of the project in the WDA's  facade improvement project materials. 

Note:  The Warsaw Downtown Association  reserves the right to make changes in the conditions of the Facade Improvement Program as warranted.