By Michelle Price
Special to the UCBJ
LIVINGSTON – The courthouse square of Livingston will soon look a little different as the city of Livingston and its Downtown Revitalization Committee (LDRC) announce the establishment of a competitive grant program to assist downtown property owners in making capital improvements to building facades.
The grant program aims to encourage owners to restore the original character of the historic downtown through the total restoration, renovation and repair of commercial building exteriors within Livingston Courthouse Square District.
Items eligible for this special purpose grant include building façade improvements such as lighting, signage, awnings, restoration of doors, windows, storefront and façade rehabilitation, painting and accessibility improvements that restores the building façade back to near originality or some other period of time that both the committee and the property owner deem historically appropriate. Improvements to rear facades are eligible as long as those facades are clearly visible from a public street. Interior improvements are not eligible.
The city hopes that making physical improvements to structures will assist in spurring economic vitality within the Courthouse Square area. The grant aims to make existing businesses increasingly inviting places to shop, work, recreate and live while revitalizing streetscapes and commercial corridors in the downtown.
The program, which is supported by the State Sales Tax Rebate Program, will be limited to two grants of not less than $8,000 nor more than $12,500 each. The grants will be made available to applicants on a competitive selection basis with projects expected to begin during the summer 2021 construction season. The Façade & Building Restoration Grant Program is a reimbursement program with a minimum 1:1 matching requirement.
According to LDRC Chairman Ray Evans, the application process is critical to the success of the project.
As part of the application process, applicants must submit a detailed scope, current and historic photos, initial concept sketches, cost estimate, proposed timeline and any other additional plans that accurately outline and display the intent of the project. Applicants are encouraged to ensure that their documentation presents an adequate and complete picture for the LDRC to review and envision.
A financial commitment letter or a statement from applicant’s bank verifying that funds are available to pay for the project or that the financial institution will guarantee funding for the project though a loan will be required as a part of the application.
Buildings owned by employees of the city of Livingston, aldermen or members of the LDRC will not be eligible for participation in this program.
Applications are available at the Livingston City Hall or by emailing email@example.com. For more Information contact Evans at (865) 548-2137.