Girard Borough Façade Improvement Grant Program – Cycle #3

Deadline to Apply: Friday, July 17, 2020

 

The next cycle of façade grants will open January 2021,
and the deadline to apply will be March 5, 2021.

 

APPLICATION GUIDELINES

 

The Girard Borough Façade Program seeks to assist commercial property owners and/or business owners (with property owner permission) to restore facades of downtown buildings in order to enhance the appearance of the central business district. The purpose of the Façade Improvement Grant Program is:

 

  • to preserve the architectural heritage of the downtown,
  • to foster an attractive and safe environment,
  • to stimulate private investment in the form of new development, redevelopment, and renovation that is consistent with the historic integrity of the downtown,
  • to foster civic pride and a sense of place, and
  • to create a compelling image to increase commerce and profits, attract new businesses, retain existing businesses, attract all age groups, and encourage long-term commitments to the community.

 

Applicants will be required to meet with representatives of the Girard Downtown Committee prior to submitting an application and review project and budget details.

 

These façade grants will be made on a 50/50 matching basis. Girard Borough will provide up to 50% of the project cost as a grant with the remaining 50% of the cost being the property/business owner’s responsibility. The maximum grant awarded will be $10,000.

 

Grants will be made on a reimbursement basis, following a process which includes application submittal, committee review and approval, and construction.  Applicants will receive grant funds after completion of the approved façade improvement project and submission of project photographs, copies of invoices, receipts, and proof of payment(s).

 

All projects awarded funding must be completed by September 30, 2021. Grant monies may not be used for permit fees, roofs, sidewalks, benches, trees, flowers, shrubs, or temporary signs.  However, if a roof is part of the façade (such as a mansard roof), the portion of the roof that is visible from the street may be eligible and included in the grant award.

 

Applications are due July 17, 2020. Priority will be given to projects that meet all of the criteria and will have the greatest overall impact on the downtown.

 

Program Boundaries: 

All buildings within the designated downtown boundary, which is Main Street from the east borough line (just west of Westgate Drive) to Old Ridge Road, and Rice Avenue from Main Street to Vine Street, are eligible for these grant funds, provided that all improvements are in compliance with the codes and ordinances of Girard Borough.

 

Eligibility:

Any person(s) owning property in the established boundaries is eligible to apply. Qualifying commercial properties include single-purpose retail and office buildings and mixed-use buildings containing combinations of retail, office, and residential apartments. Merchants located in the defined area are eligible to apply with the property owner’s consent.

 

Single-purpose apartment buildings are generally not eligible for design grants. However, individual proposals will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

 

For larger buildings where more than one storefront exists within the same façade, each storefront may be eligible for Façade Improvement Grant funds.

 

The facade is the part of the building facing the street or streets. It includes the entirety of the face of the building including upper floors which often retain their original appearance.

 

Funds are available to improve the following façade components.

 

  1. Architectural Elements/Windows/Doors – Funds are available for painting, rehabilitation, re-glazing and reconditioning of existing windows (including display, ornamental, upper-story windows), doors and exterior shutters when they are original to the building. Grant funds will not be available for replacement of original windows, doors and exterior shutters or those elements when they are in character with the building, except when the windows are severely deteriorated and cannot be rehabilitated. Grant funds will be available for replacement of existing windows, doors and exterior shutters if they are not original and are out of character with the building.

 

  1. Exterior Painting and Restoration – Funds are available for repair, cleaning, refinishing, painting, and restoration of exterior woodwork and trim, architectural sheet metal and/or decorative brick elements. This category includes exterior masonry repairs, restoration, painting (in the case of brick, only if originally painted), or low-pressure water or steam cleaning. Roof and commercial cornices, parapets and other decorative elements may be repaired and reconditioned. Replacement of cornice and trim elements will be permitted when they are severely deteriorated and cannot be repaired. Missing decorative elements can be replaced utilizing extant examples found elsewhere on the building, period photographs, or, in the absence of both, examples of similar buildings in downtown Girard. Roof repair or replacement is not fundable.

 

  1. Signs and Awnings – Funds are available for repair, or removal and replacement, of existing signage and awnings, as well as installation of new signage and awnings, provided none of the original sign panel(s) or signage are still intact, in which case original panels may be rehabilitated. New panels shall be installed within the original space reserved for that purpose or, in the absence of a sign panel or frieze, be mounted in a sensitive manner approved by the façade committee. Lighting fixtures that directly illuminate a sign or provide area lighting under awnings are also eligible for assistance. Funds may also be used to purchase new awnings for entrances. No funds are available for sidewalks or site amenities.

 

  1. Design Assistance – Funds are available for architectural, historical façade research and preservation and graphic design services.

 

All improvements must comply with standards set forth in the Girard Borough zoning ordinance and building codes, as well as applicable sections of the Pennsylvania building codes and the federal Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines.

 

Improvements should comply with the Secretary of the Interiors Standards for Rehabilitation located at https://www.nps.gov/tps/standards/rehabilitation.htm. If questions arise, please refer them to Preservation Erie at info@preservationerie.org.

 

Grant funding may not be used to pay for work that is currently in progress or has been completed.

 

Only one application per project may receive funding.

 

Girard Borough reserves the right to consider increasing matching funding for “significant structures,” such as corner buildings or anchor buildings.

 

Funding for phased projects will be considered on a case-by-case basis when compelling circumstances are presented by an applicant.

 

Applicants must be up-to-date and/or in compliance with all local, state and federal taxes.

 

Technical Assistance: 

If grant funds are awarded to a facade improvement project, up to $500 of the grant may be used for architectural services to assist with development of an appropriate façade design and help acquire necessary permits. Girard Borough can provide those architectural services through a consultant and would pay the architect for those services, deducting it from the grant award. If the property/business owner chooses to use private funding to pay for architectural services, the cost of these services may exceed $500.

 

Prevailing Wage Act:

Because it is funded in part by the Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority, the Façade Improvement Grant Program is subject to the Prevailing Wage Act which specifies that if the entire project costs over $25,000, prevailing wages must be paid to construction workers.

 

“The Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage Act (43 P.S. § 165-1 et seq.; 34 PA Code § 9.101 et seq.) may be applicable to this Project.  If applicable, the Grant Recipient is responsible for including prevailing wage rates in all bid documents, specifications, and construction contracts pertaining to the Project.  The Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) has final authority to make all prevailing wage applicability determinations.”

“Please note:  Prevailing Wage requirements are generally applicable to grants for construction, demolition, reconstruction, alteration, repair work, renovations, build-out and installation of machinery and equipment in excess of $25,000.  Any questions as to final prevailing wage obligations should be directed to the Bureau of Law Compliance at 1-800-932-0665.”

SELECTION PROCESS

Grants will be awarded based upon the level of improvements, the accuracy of historic preservation and the vitality and signifi­cant impact the project will make to the downtown environment. Only complete applications will be accepted for processing.

The grant application will be reviewed by the Girard Downtown Committee, which will be made up of five or seven individuals and include representatives from the Borough of Girard, the Girard community, and Preservation Erie. The committee will evaluate the completeness of information and supporting documents and compliance with the requirements of the Façade Improvement Grant Program. This review process will be completed within two months of the application deadline.

The Girard Downtown Committee will present funding recommendations to Girard Borough Council for final approval.

Only work approved by the Girard Downtown Committee will be eligible for reimbursement through the Facade Improvement Grant Program. Project work may not begin until the property/business owner receives written approval from Girard Borough.

Once an application is approved, but before work may begin, the applicant must submit a work schedule for the approved project. All projects must be completed within a designated time­frame, agreed upon by the grantee and Girard Downtown Committee. If work is not completed in the agreed timeframe, all grant money will be forfeited. If unforeseen circum­stances occur which delay the project, exceptions may be consid­ered.

Approved projects are required to meet all applicable codes and ordinances of the Borough. Grantees are also required to secure any necessary permit(s) from the Borough or other appropriate parties before work can commence.

Once a project has been completed, the grantee must send a letter of project completion, “after” photographs, copies of all re­ceipts and permits, and proof of payment for materials and labor to the Girard Downtown Committee.

It is the responsibility of the grantee to fulfill financial obligations to all contractors and sub-contractors for material and labor expenses.

Once the work is completed and reviewed by the Girard Downtown Committee, Girard Borough will reimburse the property owner in accordance with the terms of the grant within one month. Work not completed in accordance with the approved project description may be denied payment.

In order to receive reimbursement, the following will need to be satisfactorily ad­dressed.

  1. The project must be completed in conformance with the design plan and/or project as submitted, reviewed and approved by the Girard Downtown Committee.
  2. If the scope of work, construction materials, or project timeline need to be changed, the grantee must obtain pre-approval from the Girard Downtown Committee.
  3. The grantee must complete final inspections, if required by the Borough.

APPLICATION CHECKLIST

Applicants must supply one (1) copy of the following items with the completed Facade Improvement Grant Program Application.

  • A complete, detailed written description of the proposed project
  • Awning samples, paint color samples and/or finishing material samples, if appropriate
  • Current color photographs of the property to be addressed
  • Historic photos of the façade, if available
  • Complete project cost estimates from contractors and/or material suppliers
  • A detailed work schedule, which includes an estimated project completion date
  • Matching fund verification (such as a letter from a banking institution stating that the applicant’s account has sufficient funds to cover 50% of the proposed project)
  • Signed Hold Harmless Agreement (required for applicants who do not own the property on which they plan to improve)
  • GIRARD BOROUGH FACADE IMPROVEMENT GRANT APPLICATION

If you have questions regarding the completion of this application or the eligibility of your project, contact Borough Manager Rob Stubenbort at (814) 774-9683 x 203 (Office), (814) 392-4169 (Cell), or robs@girardborough.com. The deadline to apply is July 17, 2020.

 

__________________________________________________________________________________

Applicant’s Name

 

__________________________________________________________________________________

Business Name

 

________________________________________________________________  Corner/Anchor Building   Yes ___   No___

Project Site Address                                                                 

 

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Mailing Address (if different from project site address)

 

____________________________________________________________________________________________________Phone                                                    Fax                                                     Email

 

Are you the owner(s) of record of the subject property?                            Yes ___   No___

 

If you are not the owner of the property, please complete the next three lines of information, as well as the Release and Hold Harmless Agreement in collaboration with the property owner.

______________________________________________________________
Property Owner’s Name

______________________________________________________________

Property Owner’s Address

______________________________________________________________

Property Owner’s Phone AND Email

Indicate the category associated with the project:

_____ Architectural Elements/Windows/Doors              _____ Exterior Painting and Restoration

_____ Signs and Awnings                                                 _____ Design Assistance

 Brief Project Description: Please provide a description of the project and proposed timeline. You may attach a separate sheet, if needed.

 

TOTAL ESTIMATED COST OF PROJECT:________________   AMOUNT REQUESTED: __________________

The maximum reimbursement allowed under the Facade Improvement Grant Program may not exceed 50% of the total project cost up to a maximum of $10,000, or as otherwise noted. The Facade Improvement Grant Program may not be used to pay for work that is currently in progress or has already been completed.

Anticipated Project Start Date: ____/____/____           Anticipated Project Completion Date: ____/____/____

 

Additional Funding Source(s): Check all that apply to your project.

_____ Cash

_____ Bank Loan

_____ Other: Please specify: __________________________________________________________________

 

The applicant acknowledges the terms and conditions associated with the Facade Improvement Grant Program and agrees to comply with all of its requirements.

______________________________________________________________

Signature of Applicant                                                                                                 Date

______________________________________________________________

Signature of Property Owner (If different from above.)                                                Date

Submit grant applications to:

Rob Stubenbort, Borough Manager

Borough of Girard

34 Main Street East

Girard, PA 16417