Building Facade Matching Grant Fund Program

The City of Grants Pass Building Facade Matching Grant Fund Program

Grants Pass possesses a unique downtown environment that centers on a historic district with buildings that date back to the turn of the 20th century.  These buildings, which are largely un-reinforced masonry construction, represent an aesthetic that gives the downtown its character and charm; however, older buildings present maintenance issues that are expensive and seldom are they current with building and safety codes. 

The purpose of the Grants Pass Façade Improvement Grant Fund is to provide grants for the restoration/renovation of these buildings and others in designated areas within the City of Grants Pass to increase the overall appearance as well as potential usability and aesthetic of those structures.  

It is the intent of the City to encourage property owners of commercial buildings to restore the exterior facades of the building to the original design and character.  This program has the potential to upgrade the physical and economic characteristics of the downtown by improving the value of buildings on major thoroughfares in the Grants Pass Historic District.

Eligible Projects:

Funds are available for a wide variety of activities that improve the historic appeal of the property. The following list is not exhaustive, but covers the major types of projects which are fundable:

Eligible Projects:

  • Professional Design Services;
  • Quality exterior improvements intended to restore facades and exteriors, including windows, doors, porches, and balconies.
  • Painting and cleaning;
  • Masonry repair or cleaning;
  • Repairing or replacing cornices, entrances, doors, windows, decorative details and awnings;
  • Sign removal, repairing, or replacement;

Grant eligible projects are limited to a one time maximum matching grant up to $5000.

The Parks & Community Development Director shall determine whether activities not listed in this document shall be considered for grant assistance.  The Director shall not approve any project outside of the location criteria and shall ensure that no activity is approved if the action is contrary to the spirit of this program.  

In-Eligible Activities:

  • Working capital;
  • Financing of inventory;
  • Financing of building acquisition costs;
  • Refinancing of existing debt; 
  • Inappropriate cleaning (cleaning outside of the building such as landscaping);
  • Interior design and furnishing/tenant improvements;
  • New or Modern Signage (electrical signs).

Location of Eligible Projects:

  1. Grant funded project location criteria:  The building must be located within the City of Grants Pass Urban Growth Boundary along one of the major thoroughfares.  These routes include:  
    • The Central Business District; and 
    • 6th and 7th Streets from the I-5 interchange to the Rogue River.

Conditions and Considerations:

  1. The maximum grant any one property may receive from the fund will be $5,000.
  2. The City will not grant money from the fund to completed projects.
  3. Grant funded projects must be feasible and have a reasonable prospect of imminent building use upon completion of construction.  
  4. Grants provided by this program are to be used for aesthetic upgrades of approved structures and shall be compliant with the latest State of Oregon adopted building codes.  Because of limited monies available, priority for the grants will be awarded to projects showing significant improvements to the property that will lead to prospective and likely reuse.  
  5. All applications will be reviewed on a quarterly basis.  Applications will be due by the final day of each calendar quarter.  Awards will be made before the end of the immediately following calendar quarter and monies will be issued based on compliance with the criteria listed in this document.  No awards will be made prior to the application deadline and the program will continue each quarter until monies are exhausted.
  6. Properties with active code enforcement violations will be prohibited from participation unless the proposed application will satisfy the violations and building occupancy is expected upon the conclusion of the project.  
  7. All exterior improvements located within the Historical District are to be approved by the Historical Buildings and Sites Commission, in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation Guidelines.  The National Trust for Historic Preservation publication “Keeping Up Appearances” will be used as the official Grants Pass Façade Design Guidelines.
  8. The total amount of monies granted to any one project shall not exceed 50% of the total cost of the qualifying project. Matched funds should take the form of actual business expenditures or encumbrances used specifically for the improvements associated with the approved grant.
  9. The minimum match amount by the applicant for grant-funded projects shall be no less than 50% of the total cost of the project. 
    1. The Director may waive the requirements for the matching funds specifically for emergency egress projects with a total construction value up to, but not exceeding, $5,000.

Grant Application and Design Review Process:

  1. Application and Guidelines for the program will be available at the Grants Pass City Hall, Administrative Department, 101 Northwest "A" Street, Grants Pass, Oregon.
  2. Applicants for the design grant, or any other grant, should complete a grant application which includes a detailed project outline, intent of the design services, initial concept sketches, photographs and proposed time line (see attached). Application and applicable documentation and materials should be submitted to the Community Development Department and shall follow the process outlined in the Grants Pass Development Code.
  3. The Historical Buildings and Sites Commission reviews applications for projects that include exterior repair for appropriateness and design quality of proposed facade improvements if the building is either a) within the Historic District; or, b) designated as an Historic Landmark (see Development Code Sect. 13.430).
  4. For exterior improvement only:
    • Historical Buildings and Sites Commission Chairperson notifies applicant in writing of approval or denial of application for exterior improvements. 
    • If a grant application is denied, applicant may revise and resubmit a facade improvement plan for reconsideration and review.  
  5. Grant awards will be processed through the Grant Review Committee. Prior to award of the grant funds, applicants must provide proof of selected design service by a licensed Historical Preservation Consultant with a signed service agreement or contract, if any of the proposed development will take place on the exterior of the building.

Grant Approval Process:

  1. The applicant must submit a completed application and required detailed information with particulars on the feasibility of the project and the strength of the applicant in terms of reasonable prospect use of the building.
  2. Grant Review Committee reviews completed applications and make its recommendation to the Grants Pass City Council.  This committee is strictly advisory. Final grant approval will be made by the City Council.
  3. Grants Pass City Council reviews the application including recommendation from the Grant Review Committee.  The Council’s decision will be made by adopting a Resolution authorizing the City Manager to make the approved grant to the applicant.
  4. Money for the grant will be dispersed after applicant has completed the work; passed all inspections (i.e. certificate of occupancy) as spelled out in the application; and have submitted financial information to the City.
  5. Formation of Grant Review Committee:
    • The Parks & Community Development Director shall create a committee to consist of the Director, Chief Building Official, Fire Marshall, City Engineer and Economic Development to review grant funding requests.  
    • The Grant Review Committee shall make recommendations to the City Council based on the criteria of this program, building and safety codes and the availability of funding.  

Application Packet
Any further questions can be directed to Susan Seereiter, Business Advocate, at 541-450-6014.