Village Improvement Grants

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

 

FOR THIS FISCAL YEAR, JULY 1, 2011 THROUGH JUNE 30, 2012, THE PROGRAM HAS BEEN SUSPENDED. IT WILL BE POSTED HERE IF THE PROGRAM IS CONTINUED IN THE FUTURE.

The Town of Duck has developed a Village Improvement Grant Program to offer financial assistance to qualified property owners or tenants seeking to improve commercial properties and to neighborhood associations seeking to enhance community entrances and facilities.

The program seeks to improve the physical appearance of the community and support community goals for quality in compatible building design, encouraging native plantings in landscaping, effective and aesthetically pleasing signage, and appropriate lighting.   The program makes available one-time grants of up to 50% of total project cost (to a maximum of $2,500 per grant) for exterior rehabilitation of commercial structures, signage, landscaping, and lighting in the Village Commercial District and up to 50% of total project cost (to a maximum of $1,500 per grant) for neighborhood projects such as beautification and entrance enhancement, fencing, irrigation, landscaping, entrance signage, playground equipment, and walkways.  This grant is exclusive of, and in addition to, any other financing, loans, or grants to which property owners or tenants may avail themselves. The Town will provide these grants for well-designed improvements that meet Town standards for building and site design, landscaping, and signage.

 

For the grant application to print and complete, click here.

For a grant application to complete on-line, click here.

 

COMMERCIAL PROJECT PARAMETERS

Specific building improvements must be compatible with the original character of a structure and of the community. The treatment of buildings not having significant historic or architectural features should be in scale with the building and neighboring structures and should be carefully designed. Lighting sources should be unobtrusive. Signs should not be extremely large and should not be made of interior lighted or backlighted plastic. Color schemes for signs should be compatible with the building exterior and the visual message shall be legible and attractive. All improvements must be in compliance with zoning regulations, including design standards, of the Town of Duck.

The following elements are encouraged in the context of a grant project:

Appropriately-scaled window areas for display or for looking into a retail business, restaurant or service business, with low-level lighting to facilitate night viewing;

Restoration of details that contribute to buildings and removal of elements which cover architectural details;

Window replacement and window framing;

Landscaping features where appropriate, such as planting islands, landscape plantings, street furniture, water fountains, bicycle racks, window boxes, or planters;

Signs which are attractively integrated into the architecture of the building including the window areas, doorways and awnings, or canopy;

Awnings or canopies where these can be both functional and visually appealing;

New storefront construction within an existing building;

Cleaning, repainting, or residing of buildings;

Providing additional access for people with disabilities;

Replacement of nonconforming signage and lighting with more compatable signs and lights;

Installation of public restroom facilities.

The Town reserves the right to reject an application if the designs do not meet Town standards. However, the Committee will make every effort to work with the applicant to revise the design to comply with the standards. 

Projects underway or started prior to the Town’s receiving a written application for the Village Improvement Grant Program are ineligible to participate in the program. Town acceptance of an application does not give implied approval or guarantee of funds.  Once an application has been reviewed and accepted by the Town staff, a project may commence while grant review is pending; however there shall be no guarantee that the project will be funded and the applicant should be willing and able to complete a project, with their own funds, that was begun after submission of an application but prior to receiving written approval of the Community Improvement Committee.

ELIGIBILITY

All improvements must comply with standards set forth in the Town’s zoning ordinance and building codes, as well as applicable sections of the state building codes and federal Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG), and the Town of Duck design standards. Improvements to buildings without significant architectural features must be carefully designed to be in scale with both the existing structure and neighboring structures. Buildings with significant architectural qualities should attempt to restore and maintain those features.

Applicants for participation in the Program must meet the following eligibility criteria:

Applicants must be property owners or tenants operating retail businesses, restaurants, service establishments, or offices (tenants must have written approval from the property owners) within the Village Commercial zoning district;

Properties must be up to date on all municipal taxes prior to participation in the Program;

Properties must comply with state and local code requirements;

Applicants must comply with all state and local laws and regulations pertaining to licensing and permits;

The applicant must submit an application form to the Town;

The Town will authorize reimbursement payment after the project’s completion in accordance with the approved plan;

Projects should be completed within the time period specified in the contract or funds may not be guaranteed. The Town does not reimburse for work done before application approval.


NEIGHBORHOOD PROJECT PARAMETERS

Neighborhoods may apply for grant projects that improve the physical appearance of neighborhoods and that build community relationships. Neighborhood projects should:

Address a need that benefits the neighborhood;

Include matching funds in dollars or volunteer hours (valued at $10 per hour for the purpose of calculating the match):

Have an accountable individual to administer the grant (with a federal employer identification number or the Social Security number of the person responsible for the project and bank account);

Be able to complete the project without the assistance of the Town;

The applicant must submit an application form to the Town;

The Town will authorize reimbursement payment after the project’s completion in accordance with the approved plan;

Projects should be completed within the time period specified in the contract or funds may not be guaranteed. The Town does not reimburse for work done before application approval.


FUNDS AVAILABILITY

The Town of Duck has established funding for the VIP through its current fiscal year budget.

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

The Town’s contribution will be a grant of up to 50% of the cost of eligible improvements, but not more than $2,500 for commercial projects or $1,500 for residential projects. The minimum size of a grant is $500 and the minimum cost of eligible improvements is $2,000. Architectural design fees, up to $1000 per project, may be included in the total cost of eligible improvements.

 

PROGRAM PROCESS

1. Property and business owners make decision to participate in the program.

2. Property or business owners may meet informally with staff and/or members of the Community Improvement Committee to discuss the intent of application and to obtain/review the Town’s design standards.

3. Property or business owners submit completed application and all required attachments to the Town.

4. Staff evaluates cost estimates, and determines dollar amount of grant. Application is reviewed and approved by Community Improvement Committee for design and compliance with program guidelines.

5. The Town notifies applicant of design approval and approved grant amount by letter, telephone call, and/or e-mail. Following contract execution, applicant may proceed with improvements (pending other financial assistance).

6. Once improvements are completed, applicant submits proof of expenses and grant payment request to Town.

7. Town staff schedules a site visit to inspect, view, and approve project improvements.

8. Town issues a check to applicant within two weeks after staff approves completed project.