WATERVILLE — Central Maine Growth Council’s Façade and Building Improvement Grant Program has opened to eligible downtown businesses and property owners for a fourth funding cycle. Since the program’s 2019 inception, the grant initiative has stimulated development while distributing funding for various exterior building improvements and downtown vibrancy elements ranging from window replacements to new awnings and signage.  

“Waterville’s Facade and Building Improvement Grant program’s fourth cycle comes at a time when the City is completing several transformational downtown projects,” states Central Maine Growth Council Economic Development Specialist Gabe Gauvin. “This grant funding is particularly impactful, through eliciting additional private investment into the preservation and restoration of Main Streets’ historic storefronts and businesses.” 

Waterville’s facade program has continued to incentivize investment and bolster the visual appeal of downtown storefronts, restoring the original character of the historic exteriors and encouraging other eligible parties to elevate the visual appearance of their buildings and businesses. CMGC has deployed 22 grants since the program’s launch in 2019, supporting and stimulating more than $2.1 million in direct investment in three years. This year, the facade and building improvement program will realize new programmatic updates, including prioritizing first-time grantee applicants and allowing for a longer grantee performance period – now a one (1) year performance period – to account for construction and labor-related supply chain issues and challenges. 

“The facade grant program supports downtown Waterville with the ability to enhance the city’s visual appearance and attract new streetscaping amenities, tenants, residents, and investment into the community,” elaborates Central Maine Growth Council Director of Planning, Innovation, and Economic Development Garvan Donegan. “Coming at a time of new traffic patterns, elongated sidewalks and pedestrian improvements, increased redevelopment activity, and significant downtown investment, the facade program will continue to encourage business and property owners to grow new development initiatives, incentivize landlords to beautify and improve their buildings, and preserve our historic downtown district while fostering the conditions for small business creation, retention, and recruitment.” 

Workshop details, program guidance, and application materials can be found at www.centralmaine.org/facade. Grant applications are due on Thursday, Dec. 22 by 5 pm, and awarded projects are expected to be announced on Thursday, Jan. 5. Awarded projects are to be completed by Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023. The grant program, funded by Colby College and the Bill and Joan Alfond Foundation for a total of $60,000 in funding for the 2022-23 grant cycle, provides a reimbursement of up to fifty (50) percent of the total estimated project budget.  

Interested applicants are encouraged to review FBIGP program materials online (www.centralmaine.org/facade) and are required to attend the upcoming virtual workshop on Thursday, Dec. 1 at 12 p.m. For additional details, CMGC can be reached at 207-680-7300 or director@centralmaine.org

Central Maine Growth Council (CMGC), located in Waterville, Maine, is a public-private collaborative regional economic development partnership funded by municipalities and businesses who share a common vision of economic prosperity for our region. CMGC is committed to fostering a robust regional economy. We believe that the standard of living and quality of life of our citizens is best served by a vibrant, healthy economy. This is accomplished with a strong thriving business community.