Borough Manager Blog

Borough Manager John J. Ernst shares what's happening in Lansdale from the manager's perspective.

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Apr 09

Facade Improvement Grants

Posted on April 9, 2018 at 4:18 PM by John J. Ernst

For the past five years, Lansdale’s Economic Development Committee (EDC) has shown their vested interest in civic improvements by focusing energy, resources and promotion to help build a thriving business community in town. As their Mission Statement states, they are tasked with, “…championing the economic development of our historic Main Street and existing commercial corridors…by acting as a liaison between Borough government and existing and prospective businesses.” It is with this mission in mind that the EDC created and rolled out their Façade Improvement Grant Program.

Facade Improvement Program Logo

The program aims to remove accessibility barriers while achieving visual improvement to businesses by awarding property owners or tenants fifty percent of expenses up to $5,000 for improvements to their property’s façade. With an emphasis on consistent and positive design, a design review panel of community architects approves updates to signage, awnings, doors, painting, landscaping and other eligible improvements prior to grant approval. Once plans are approved and work is completed, businesses are reimbursed for the enhancements made.

Through this grant program, the EDC intends to create positive impact, stimulate private investment and complement other community development efforts like our Main Street Streetscape. Simple updates can signal positive change and stimulate similar improvements, you don’t need to look much further than the intersection of Wood and Main Streets right in downtown to see evidence of this. Stove & Tap, Round Guys Brewing and Backyard Beans all decided to open in town because of Lansdale’s recent growth. With proximity to transportation, helpful and engaging staff, various resources and many other positive attributes, these businesses not only saw Lansdale as an attractive place to open, but to make a considerable investment to do so. And the decisions and success of those businesses sent a powerful and positive message to surrounding businesses. The ripple effect can be seen in shops like Scent & Sip, Smoke Daddy’s Barbeque, La’ Personalization Boutique and many others around town.

Round guys

The success of these investments in town further drove the EDC to meet their mission and find a way to financially assist businesses in the Borough. By making façade funding available, businesses are more likely to make updates that weren’t budgeted for initially. Let’s face it, these improvements aren’t cheap so by offering a way to make them more affordable, the EDC hopes that many businesses take advantage and make their business attractive to customers, employees and other businesses.

And while the EDC focuses on the business community, it can’t be ignored that these improvements will benefit Lansdale residents as well. By strengthening locally owned businesses, we’re keeping money in town and offering greater opportunities for residents to patronize those businesses. Better marked entrances, creative signage and enhanced landscaping all draw the eye and pique the interest of not only those who live here, but also those driving along Main Street and other routes in town.

While this is only one piece of a greater strategy to enhance our business community, the first step of creating a Façade Improvement Grant program sends the message to business and property owners that their investment in improvements do have an impact and we are pleased to offer the EDC funds as a resource to help put Lansdale’s best face forward.

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