The City of Caribou recently announced the funding for Façade Improvement Grants and Slum and Blight Removal. This is a new program for the City of Caribou, which is funded through the Downtown TIF District. As such all projects must be located within the Downtown TIF District. For 2016 the City has set aside $50,000 for each program.
“This is an exciting program for Caribou, as it helps business owners to improve their buildings both structurally and aesthetically,” said Austin Bleess, City Manager.
The programs are a proposed partnership between the City of Caribou and the private sector to remove blighted properties and to improve the facades of commercial and mixed use properties within our designated Downtown TIF District from our community and improve property values.
The Façade Improvement Grants may be used for a variety of façade improvements including, but not limited to, painting, window or door repairs/replacements, signage, awnings, tuckpointing, and storefront restorations. Grant funds will be awarded on a competitive basis; Small and large projects are eligible for funding. The building must be used for 51% commercial/industrial purposes with no residential uses on the first level of the building. The grant amount for each project would be capped at $7,500 or 50% of the project costs whichever is less.
The Slum and Blight Removal Grants can be used for the demolition and removal of blighted buildings. Applications would be ranked on the blighting influences on the neighborhood, the level of blight, and whether or not there is a reuse of the property that has been identified. The grant amount for each project would be capped at $10,000 or 50% of the project costs whichever is less.
Eligibility requirements include being the owner of the property, being current on all city taxes including Real and Personal Property Taxes, and all bills from the Caribou Utilities District. Properties that have been declared dangerous by the Caribou City Council in accordance with state law are not eligible for the grants.
The City has more information and application forms for these grants available on our website at www.cariboumaine.org/EconDev.