The Estacada Development Association received a grant of $30,000 from the Estacada Urban Renewal Agency and $5,000 from Tourism and Cultural Affairs Office of Clackamas County to provide a facade improvement program in Estacada.
The Facade improvement program has two objectives: To
(1) improve the appearance and
(2) property value of commercial property in the Urban Renewal district.
Improved appearance will facilitate increased foot traffic and visitor acceptance that should generate increased commercial activity. By increasing the area’s property values the district will generate additional revenue over the period the urban renewal district is in existence and generate more revenue afterwards to support city, fire district, library and public school funding. A by product of property improvement is that businesses become more profitable filling vacant buildings and adding jobs in the downtown area. Following are our recommendations for the project:
Definition: A façade project that qualifies for funding improves the commercial buildings face or storefront and may include:
• New or upgraded windows
• Improved lighting
• Upgrades to signage
• Upgraded screen or exterior doors
• New siding or exterior design
Examples of improvements that usually won’t qualify are landscaping, street furniture, maintenance and routine repairs. Generally, funds cannot be used for any interior work or work that is not visible from the front of the building. Funds must be used for work that will become a permanent part of the building (paint, windows, awnings, etc.). Depending on the size and type of improvement an architect’s rendering may be required. Cost would be part of the overall costs. The Estacada Development Association (EDA) and the Clackamas County Main Street office may be able to assist depending on the nature of the improvement. Projects that cost over $5,000 will require two competitive bids to qualify for reimbursement.
Grants will be allocated in the following way (based on total costs of the project):
• Up to $500, grant is 100%
• $500-2500, grant is 50% of amount over$500
• $2500+, grant is up to 35% of amount over $2,500- the exact percentage depending on availability of funds
The EDA Design Committee and the Estacada Public Works Department will need to review and approve the plans. The EDA will sign an agreement with the property/business owner before work can begin. All projects will need to be completed, inspected and all work paid for before they can receive reimbursement. The final date to submit claims for reimbursement is June 30, 2012. The EDA’s Design Committee has researched implementation of similar programs throughout the state and adopted a plan that seems to provide the best opportunity for success based on the amount of available funds. Our plan closely resembles a smaller project we implemented with good success in 2007.
We have received responses from about 15 businesses totaling more than $60,000 in improvements if they are all completed. Having received the responses we are currently meeting with property and building owners to screen those projects that might and might not qualify and discuss more fully their proposed projects.
Once we have met with property and business owners we plan on setting up workshops to provide those interested more information about specific kinds of projects such as painting, signage, lighting and awnings. If it appears energy efficiency would benefit some of the projects we may also hold a workshop on this topic since there are currently funds available to offset some of those costs. We will strongly encourage those who have submitted letters of interest as well as any other interested persons to attend. We expect the workshops to help business and property owners to make better choices and to become more aware of all the options available. We hope to complete the workshops in January, 2012. Depending on the level of interest we may also work on developing volume discounts with vendors if several businesses are interested in similar projects.
We expect to have all applications for funds received by January 31st 2012 will sign agreements with applicants and make them aware of the level of funding to expect. Plans will have to be approved by the city and permits approved before the EDA will approve the project for funding. We would like all projects to be complete by June 30th delays would like to request up to 60 day extensions. Once an invoice is received that shows that final inspections have been satisfactorily completed and all costs of construction paid for we will reimburse the applicant.