Downtown Façade Improvement Program
What is the Downtown Façade Improvement Program?
The Façade Improvement Program is a matching grant program created to help offset the costs of external improvements to buildings along Main Street in historic downtown Sykesville. Property & business owners can apply to receive a reimbursement for up to 50% percent of the cost of their improvement project.
The maximum matching grant contribution is $10,000 with a minimum grant contribution of $500. It is important to note that work completed prior to application approval is NOT eligible for reimbursement.
Who can apply for funding?
Any commercial property owner, or tenant with authorization from the property owner, can apply for funding. All commercial locations within Town limits are eligible, with preference given to Main Street and surrounding areas within the Historic District.
Eligible projects include but are not limited to:
- – Painting
- – Awnings
- – Lighting
- – Signage repair/new signage
- – Masonry repair
- – Door/window repair and replacement
- – Removal of inappropriate or incompatible exterior finishes
- – ADA outside improvements
- – Roof replacement & repair
- – Flower baskets/exterior beautification
- – Curb appeal enhancements
Are there any guidelines for eligible projects?
Like all external renovations, façade improvement projects must conform to the Sykesville Historic District Commission (HDC) guidelines. This means that your project, if selected, will be reviewed by approval by the HDC. To streamline the application process and ensure that selected projects pass the HDC review, we ask that you consult the HDC guidelines (HDC guidelines) for specifics like authorized materials, storefront design, etc and attach to your Façade Improvement application the correct HDC application (shown as annex 1, page 7).
For more information regarding the HDC guidelines and restrictions, please see the Town of Sykesville website (http://townofsykesville.org/2149/Historic-District-Commission) or call the Town Clerk, Kerry Chaney @ 410-795-8959.
Please note that the painting of a building does not require HDC approval.
Regardless of HDC consideration, all projects are reviewed and approved by the Downtown Sykesville Connection (DSC) Design Committee and Town staff. Due to State funding requirements, projects must also be reviewed by the Maryland Historical Trust.
How does the application process work?
Applications for a façade improvement grant will typically go through the following process:
Step One: Applicants submit a completed application form and HDC application (if applicable) for consideration. In order for an application to be considered complete, the applicant must also submit:
- Two color photos showing the existing façade
- Detailed sketches or drawings of the proposed improvements
- Two bids on contractor letterhead
- A complete narrative of the project describing its purpose, sequence, goal, and projected timeline.
- A complete HDC application (see page 7)
PLEASE NOTE THAT APPLICATIONS THAT ARE NOT COMPLETED AS DESCRIBED ABOVE WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED.
Step Two: Applications will be reviewed by the Review Committee. Selected applications will be submitted to the HDC for review (can take up to a month for review and final approval). Applicants may be requested to appear before the Historic District Commission for further information.
Step Three: Award and rejection letters will be sent out. THE PROJECT CANNOT START AT THIS STEP.
Step Four: Applications will be forwarded to the Maryland Historic Trust (MHT) per state requirements. MHT will typically review the project within 30 days.
Step Five: Approved applicants will receive a letter of commitment indicating the amount of the award and conditions of approval. The amount of the award will not be changed after the project begins. The project can now start.
Note: Any expenses incurred prior to receipt of a letter of commitment are not eligible for reimbursement.
What happens after a project is selected for funding?
Work selected for a façade improvement grant must be completed within one year from the date of the issuance of a letter of commitment and six (6) months after the acquisition of any necessary approvals and/or permits (depending on the scope of the project, extensions may be requested). Not all projects, e.g. painting, require a building permit.
The applicant is responsible for obtaining all necessary permits, and any other required Town and county approval for the work to be done. The applicant is responsible for conforming to all applicable safety standards and guidelines.
How do I get reimbursed for my project?
Grant funds are issued on a reimbursement basis and cannot be issued until the project has been completed. Before a check is cut, applicants will need to submit proof of payment for completed work (invoices, receipts, canceled checks or credit card statements), and Town staff must review the completed project to determine that the work performed is consistent with the work approved. Once the work is approved, the Town will process a reimbursement check in fewer than 30 days.
At this time, the application process is open until January 26, 2022.
Applications should be emailed to DowntwonSykesvilleConnection@gmail.Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (410)-216-4543 with questions.