Wilmington to accept facade program apps starting Monday


WILMINGTON -- Applications for the newly adopted facade program will be accepted starting at 8 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 4, which is a little earlier than town officials expected.

"We're kind of being specific about timing because I want it to be first come, first serve as eligibility permits," said Wilmington Economic Development Consultant Gretchen Havreluk. "Some projects may not be eligible."

Facade improvement grants will be funded through the town's 1 percent local option tax revenue and will provide business owners with financial assistance in improving the front of their buildings. Commercial property owners can be awarded up to 75 percent reimbursement or direct payment to vendor of the total project cost between $500 and $5,000. A 25 percent cash match will be required by applicants.

Following the Selectboard meeting on July 16, Town Manager Scott Murphy looked into whether funding the program at the requested $75,000 per year would need to go to voters as voter approval is required for expenditures from the local option tax revenue that are over $50,000. He learned it would require voter approval so the program was funded at $49,000 a year.

Applications and program requirements are available at wilmingtonvermont.us. Applications will be accepted at the Wilmington Town Offices. Eligible expenses include labor costs, contractor fees, cost of materials and design. The Selectboard will have the right to final approval for projects.

"I have about 10 people that are interested in the program and can't wait for it to get started," Havreluk said. "We'll be out of money but there will be another year."

Approximately one year ago, she began researching the potential implementation of such a program. There are similar programs around the state.

Dover's Do-It Revitalization Program allows business owners to take advantage of 1 percent funds for the purpose of improving exterior aesthetics. That funding tends to go quickly. Havreluk believes the same will happen in Wilmington.

Wilmington's facade program is slightly different than other programs. It offers business owners not only money for improvements but also up to $1,000 for designs of a project.

"I think that we wanted people to get professional renderings so that they look better because that's the goal; to make our buildings look nicer," said Havreluk.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.


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