Façade grants available for urban businesses

Keywords Small Business

The city of Indianapolis is stepping up its funding for a façade program that helps small business in distressed areas improve the exteriors of their buildings.

Part of the Fostering Commercial Urban Strategies initiative, the facade program is a partnership between Local Initiatives Support Corp. and the city of Indianapolis.

The city this year is kicking in $224,200, up from $74,200 last year, from Federal Community Development Block Grant funds.

“Not only do these grants leverage private investment by property owners [through a match], but they lead to increased visual improvement in our neighborhoods and offer opportunities for ongoing property improvement,” Department of Metropolitan Development Director Adam Thies said in an email.

LISC and the Neighborhood Housing Partnership also are funders of the program. After administrative costs, the amount available to businesses this year is $280,000, of which $100,000 already has been awarded. Applications for the second round of funding are due May 30.

Awards in the first round ranged from $500 to $20,000 and were given to 16 small businesses, 10 of them either minority-, female- or veteran-owned.

Launched in 2002, the Fostering Commercial Urban Strategies program has awarded nearly $2 million in grants to 350 small businesses for façade improvements.

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