2013 Façade and Sign Improvement Grant Program Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Façade and Sign Improvement Program?
The program is a partnership between the City and Beverly Main Streets to help improve the appearance of downtown properties, which in turn makes the whole downtown more attractive.
How much money can I get?
Each grant can be up to $5,000. Large properties with multiple first-floor tenants may receive up to $10,000. Since it’s a matching grant, that means for every dollar you invest, the City will match it, up to $5,000. Your $5,000 investment could result in $10,000 worth of improvements.
Do I have to pay the money back?
Can I get the money before I start work? Can the money be used to pay my contractor?
No. You must pay all costs and submit receipts showing this, and the City will verify payments and work and then reimburse you. The grant money is reimbursed only at the end of the entire project.
I’ve already done some work on my building. Can I submit for reimbursement of that work?
No. Only work that is approved by BMS and the Design Review Board as part of the 2013 Program is eligible for reimbursement, and work may not start until you have those approvals.
Where does the Façade and Sign Improvement Program money come from?
The grant money comes from a Community Development Block Grant which the City received to support revitalization within the downtown district.
Who can apply for a grant?
Any commercial property in the Main Streets downtown district can apply (see map on beverlymainstreets.org). Previous recipients must wait 5 years before applying again. Preference for the grants will be given to properties on Cabot Street between Railroad and Elliott, and on Rantoul Street between Broadway and Elliott.
Why do certain blocks get preference?
Prior to 2010, we awarded grants to businesses throughout the district and while each property was improved, there was not a significant impact on the appearance of the block or the district as a whole. In 2010, Beverly Main Streets adopted a “block by block” strategy to focus our efforts on smaller, targeted areas so we could see maximum impact, and each year we expand the blocks covered. We have also used this strategy with the STAR program and our cleanup efforts, and the visual impact of the targeted blocks has been significantly improved.
If I’m not in the preferred blocks, should I apply anyway?
Yes! Every year is different and yours may be a transformational project that deserves a grant. We also do try to stretch the money as far as it will go to support as many businesses as possible.
What is the deadline to apply?
All documentation must be received by Beverly Main Streets no later than February 28, 2013.
Where do I send my application?
You can mail or drop off your application: Beverly Main Streets, 248 Cabot Street, Beverly.
What do I need to submit?
You submit the application form, along with photos of the building today, plus sketches and color samples of the planned improvements. You also need budget estimates on contractor letterhead.
If I’m going to get free design help, why do I need to submit a sketch of my design?
If you are given a grant, we do assign an architect to work with you for up to 2 hours to help you with your design. However, those 2 hours are enough to refine your ideas, not to start from scratch. You have to have a clear idea of what you want to improve before you apply.
What factors are considered in selecting the recipients?
The Committee looks at the overall impact the project will have on the appearance of the building and the whole block. We want visitors to say “wow” when they see the project completed, so new colors, new signage and new awnings all help. We also want businesses to be illuminated at night, not just for appearance but for safety and security, so lighting will also be a factor.
I have let my building deteriorate and now I’d like to fix it up. Is that eligible?
Yes, it is eligible. However, priority will be given to projects that are not primarily related to maintenance but which make a significant improvement or change in the building’s appearance. For example, replacing windows or repairing rotted wood probably won’t significantly improve the appearance of the building so you need to do more than that. If you haven’t kept your building well maintained, you should be prepared to explain how you would do so in the future if you did get a grant.
I’d like to paint my whole building, not just what faces Cabot Street. Is that covered?
No. The program is designed to improve what people can see from the main street(s). If you choose to paint the whole building, the City will only reimburse you for the portion of the project visible from the main street(s).
What’s my responsibility once the project is done?
The main thing you have to do is keep up the property once we have helped you improve it. When you accept your grant, you will sign an agreement that states that you will follow all city ordinances regarding signage and trash, that you will keep the sidewalks clear of litter and snow and that you’ll maintain the outside of the building as it appears after completion.
I have additional questions. How can I get answers?
Attend the informational meeting on Monday, Feb 11 at any of these times: 9am, 12pm or 6pm in the Beverly Main Streets office at 248 Cabot Street.
If you cannot make the meeting, you can email Gin Wallace at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 978.922.8558 between 9am and 3pm.
The following properties received grants to improve facades: EJ Cabots Restaurant (280 Cabot St), Kitty O’Sheas Irish Pub (154-156 Cabot St), Organic Rainbow (267 Rantoul St), Pride’s Osteria Restaurant (240 Cabot St) and R.C. Realty (275-283 Cabot St). The following properties received grants to improve signs: Greater Beverly YMCA (245 Cabot St) and Chive Events (252 Rantoul St).
Recipients met with the following architects, designers and Beverly Main Streets Design Committee members: Donna Musumeci of Montserrat College of Art, Joe Zelloe of Zelloe + Weaver, Nancy Ormiston and Kate Newhall of the City of Beverly, Thad Siemasko, John Harden and Jacob Small of Siemasko + Verbridge and John Fuller of Mitchell Fuller.