Best Facade Forward

by Russell Swanson, Exec. Dir., VDID, Main Street Vineland

An attractive façade on a downtown building can say something about the business inside of it. A downtown full of buildings with attractive facades makes that neighborhood that much more inviting. That’s why I’m so happy to tell you about two façade improvement initiatives we’re rolling out.

We were awarded a $75,000 Transformation Grant from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs for a program we’re calling Operation Facelift II. Several years ago, we had a façade improvement program called Operation Facelift. The current program, while working toward the same goals, has some changes.

If you have a commercial property in the Main Street designated area of Landis Avenue—the 500 through 800 blocks—you can take advantage of this program. The program offers a grant of 80 percent of costs up to $15,000 per storefront, with the Main Street Vineland contribution not to exceed $12,000 or 20 percent of the project cost contribution by the business and/or property owner. For a sign face only, the grant is 80 percent of up to $1,500, with the Main Street Vineland contribution not to exceed $1,200 or 20 percent of the project cost contribution. The grant can be used for cleaning and painting, new awnings and signs; exterior wall repairs; building-mounted façade lighting; entries, door and window repairs and replacements; façade improvements, façade code violation eradication; and soft costs (various fees).

Improvements must meet City codes, the Main Street New Jersey Storefront and Façade Design Guidelines, and approval of Main Street Vineland’s Design Review Committee.

All projects must be fully completed by October 31.

The other program is through the Neighborhood Preservation Program (NPP) initiative about which I wrote in past columns. The NPP district boundaries differ somewhat from the Main Street Boundaries and include some residential areas just off of downtown. (See the accompanying map.) NPP is devoting $27,000 of funding, with a $5,000 maximum for each interested business’s projects. Grants may be made to eligible to property or business owners who are in the NPP District to address a combination of the following areas of a building’s exterior front—cleaning and painting; new awnings and signs; exterior wall repairs—including the repair, restorative installation of decorative details, and other design features; building mounted façade lighting; entries, door, and window repairs and replacements; miscellaneous façade improvements; façade code violation eradication.

Go to our website—theave.biz—or call our office at 856-794-8653 for more information and details on both of these exciting façade improvement programs.

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On the Ave