Mundelein launches grant program for buildings on Lake Street

  • Mundelein has launched a grant program to help fund facade improvements along a short stretch of Lake Street.

      Mundelein has launched a grant program to help fund facade improvements along a short stretch of Lake Street. Russell Lissau | Staff Photographer

  • Mundelein officials have launched a grant program to encourage some downtown property owners to improve their buildings.

      Mundelein officials have launched a grant program to encourage some downtown property owners to improve their buildings. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 1/24/2018 3:47 PM

Mundelein officials are launching a grant program to encourage property owners in a specific section of downtown to renovate their building facades.

Dubbed the North Lake Enhancement Program, the effort aims to beautify retail buildings on the east side of Lake Street between Park Street and an alley north of Hawley Street.

 

Building owners in the targeted area can be reimbursed for 60 percent of qualifying construction costs, up to $50,000. Corner buildings facing more than one public street will be eligible for reimbursements up to $75,000, according to a village memo.

Additionally, the village will help fund the necessary architectural designs, with money coming from a $57,200 pot dedicated to that type of work.

Eligible projects include facade surfaces, windows, roofs, signs and awnings.

The village board approved the program Monday.

Mayor Steve Lentz believes the program will "transform" one of Mundelein's more important gateways.

The changes, he said, could help make downtown Mundelein "a destination for dining and shopping."

Mundelein officials have been trying to improve the look of the downtown area for decades. In the late 1990s, they added wider sidewalks and decorative lamps and planters to some streets.

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In 2014, the board launched a Business Incentive Grant program to help local businesses or commercial landlords improve the aesthetics of their buildings.

Since that program began, Mundelein officials have awarded 27 grants totaling more than $296,000.

The North Lake Enhancement Program has been in the works since 2016.

Funds will come with a few caveats. For example, architectural work must be done by Allen + Pepa Architects of Geneva, the firm that helped Mundelein officials develop the project.

The architects will work with building owners on the designs.

"There are guidelines, but the property owners should have the final decision in what their property looks like," Trustee Dawn Abernathy said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Also, projects funded through the program will not be eligible for money from Mundelein's Business Incentive Grant program, unless the grant didn't reach the $50,000 cap.

Likewise, Business Incentive Grant recipients are ineligible for North Lake Enhancement Program funds.

Ten buildings are in the North Lake project area. Few of them have matching architectural designs or elements.

Seven of the 10 property owners have voiced interest in improving their buildings as part of the project, according to the village memo.

If those seven property owners participate, officials project the village will invest $757,200 in the program.

Village officials envision improving the public parking at the businesses as part of the project. Parking spaces maintained by the individual business owners could be converted into a shared lot, the memo said.

Building owners have until Feb. 28 to commit to participating in the program, according to the village memo.

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