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News and Notices

City of Auburn Releases First Round of Façade Improvement Grants

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The City of Auburn has issued $63,000 in grants to support four downtown businesses to improve the exteriors of their buildings. Recipients include Nelson’s Jewelry, Hello Gorgeous, the Auburn Masonic Temple and the 230/240 multi-tenant building on Auburn Way. Since the program launched in June 2015, it has generated significant interest with 15 grant applications submitted to the City. City staff are currently working with seven other applicants for the next round of grant funding.

Mayor Nancy Backus proposed the program to the Auburn City Council as part of the City’s 2015-16 budget and the Auburn City Council approved $200,000 in funding for the Program for 2015 and 2016. The City’s program is focused on supporting small restoration and enhancement projects such as painting, removal or repair of deteriorating awnings, restoration of building features, improved lighting, installation of benches and art and improved signage.

“I applaud the City Council for offering this kind of assistance to our downtown businesses,” said Mayor Backus. “We know change can be uncertain and we all look forward to seeing the upcoming improved storefront finished products.”

The Program offers three categories of grant funding:

  • Category 1 ($5,000 and under) grants there is no required match for any grant dollars received.
  • Category 2 (between $5,000 and $50,000), graduated matching contributions made up of cash or loans or in-kind contributions are required.
  • Category 3 grants require a higher level of match that is determined on a case-by-case basis based on the type and cost of the improvement

Many communities in the region and throughout the country offer similar programs to help improve the look and feel of their downtowns. Auburn’s Downtown Storefront Façade Improvement Program is intended to offer financial assistance to encourage investment by businesses and property owners to improve the appearances of their buildings and enhance the overall quality of Downtown Auburn. In order to comply with state law, program funds can only be expended in Downtown Auburn.

The City is currently accepting applications for grant funding on a rolling basis. For more information about the program funding or eligibility requirements, or available types, please visit the program website at www.auburnwa.gov/downtown or contact Lauren Flemister, Urban Design Planner, at the 253-931-3092 or lflemister@auburnwa.gov.