If you own building or a business located in downtown Williamsburg’s National Historic Register District, and are thinking about doing some exterior work to the façade of your business, then you probably want to keep reading.
The City of Williamsburg has been selected as one of three cities in Kentucky, and one of 12 cities in the country, which are eligible for National Park Services Main Street Facade Grant Improvement Program grants.
“There are some great opportunities for property owners right now,” Williamsburg Main Street Manager Nannie Hays told the Williamsburg City Council during its monthly meeting Monday, which was held via Zoom video conferencing.
The facade grant project provides between $5,000 – $25,000 in individual grants to building and/or business owners for “brick and mortar” projects, which Hays noted is rare.
Letters were sent to all building owners in the city about this grant.
Up to $46,000 in grants are available for façade improvement projects in Williamsburg.
All grants must be used towards exterior rehabilitation or improvement of existing commercial or mixed-use existing buildings within Williamsburg historic district or buildings eligible to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Eligible projects include: awnings, roof, canopies, storefronts, doors, paint, landscaping, exterior lighting, window repair, masonry work, and signage.
The grant requires recipients to provide a 30 percent match, which can include in-kind work, Hays noted.
The funding is through the National Park Service, which is the organization that oversees historical preservation. The agency has set aside $700,000-$800,000 for façade grants, and opened it to states with Main Street programs, Hays said.
Main Street America, Kentucky Main Street Program and the Williamsburg Main Street program are all working with the park service in conjunction with the grant.
Kentucky, New Mexico, North Carolina and Wyoming are states that were selected to participate. Williamsburg, Maysville and Shelbyville are the three cities in Kentucky that are eligible for the funding.
From the time you apply, you have 24 months to complete the work.
Hays said that she is already aware of three or four property owners who are interested and three who have already begun the pre-application process.
“We have people taking advantage of it and that is good,” Hays said.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity. We definitely need to get the word out,” added Williamsburg Mayor Roddy Harrison. “I am looking forward to seeing what happens with it, and who all applies.”
In addition, the Williamsburg Main Street Program is also attempting to get Heartbeat of America grant funding available for the city, which could be stacked upon the other grant funding.
The way the two grants are set up, Hays said that if a property owner got both grants then the two grant funds would qualify as matching money for the other grant, which doesn’t happen often. Theoretically, this means a property owner could pay out nothing for the work, Hays said.
“You’re the bomb digity,” Councilwoman Laurel West told Hays after she made the announcement Monday.
For more information about the grant programs, contact Hays at the Williamsburg Tourism Center at 549-0530, or log onto https://www.mainstreet.org/ourwork/projectspotlight/facadeimprovements/npsgrant#:~:text=In%202020%2C%20Main%20Street%20America,of%20funding%20for%20the%20HRSP.