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updated: 6/3/2014 5:20 PM

Huntley may help fund downtown facade improvements

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Huntley village officials may start a facade improvement grant program to help businesses and property owners in the core downtown area and along the Route 47 corridor.

The program is designed to promote revitalization of the downtown and surrounding areas. The village could award up to $10,000 in matching funds for renovation projects, said Charlie Nordman, Huntley development services director.

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Nordman said it's up to village trustees to determine whether to increase the $10,000 cap. No more than $20,000 would be awarded to any sole building or property within a five-year period.

It's the village's first grant program to help local property owners and their tenants improve their buildings, and serves as an incentive for them to stay in town, Nordman said.

"The program really applies to all existing buildings," he said. "Our program is very similar to others out there as far as encouraging the exterior improvements. It's really a hybrid of several programs that we took a look at in the Fox River corridor."

Residential properties would not qualify for the grant. Properties with current zoning, building or property maintenance code violations also would not be eligible.

Improvements could include any exterior work such as new roofs, landscaping, streetscaping, awnings without signage, painting, replacing doors, windows and shutters, and exterior lighting. Grant money cannot be used for certain costs, including to cover project fees, debt refinancing, plumbing and HVAC repairs or upgrades, parking lot resurfacing, signage or interior remodeling.

The village has allocated $50,000 in this year's budget for the program and will start accepting applications as soon as the village board reviews and approves it. The board's committee of the whole will discuss the grant program Thursday.

"This was really set in stone by the Downtown Revitalization Plan," Nordman said, adding that there was a lot of interest and support from property owners. "It's been out there for several years now. I expect the board to move forward with it."

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