Portland to dole out $90K in grants to fix up Congress Street storefronts, street scapes

The city of Portland is hosting a workshop Tuesday night for business and property owners interested in the Facade Improvement Program, in which as much as $20,000 is available per storefront improvement project.

It’s not entirely a free money giveaway — grant awardees must put up matching funds and the projects must make a discernible difference in the appearance of the public face of the property. But if you’re a business owner who hoped to give your Congress Street shop a facelift, you could do a $40,000 job for half price if you qualify for one of these grants.

The money for this program comes from the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant, or CDBG, program, and Portland’s got $90,000 it can spread around to qualifying projects during the current funding round.

A city announcement of Tuesday night’s information session states that the money can be used for providing “construction and architectural assistance for properties located on Congress Street between Washington Avenue and Weymouth Street (one block west of Deering Avenue) to restore or renovate commercial storefronts and replace deteriorated or poor quality commercial signs and awnings.”

The deadline to apply is Oct. 18 at 3 p.m.

The Tuesday workshop gets underway at 5:30 p.m. at Room 209 in City Hall.

City Manager Mark Rees had this to say about the program in a statement issued today:

The city is pleased to offer this grant program to assist business and property owners in the targeted area to improve their commercial properties and, at the same time, enhance Congress Street. This recapitalized Façade Program is similar to an earlier round of the program which helped to renovate four storefronts, create two new signs and five new awnings.

Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.