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Watch US Change…Design Challenge Grant Program

IMPROVE – A Guide to Storefront and Property Design in Upper Schuylkill Downtowns  ( 2 MB PDF File )

** Amendments to Guidelines, January 2008 **

Applications by Town:

Watch US Change!

Upper Schuylkill , a PA Regional Main Street Program, is pleased to announce its new Design Challenge Grant Program. This program provides funding to local property owners or business owners (with property owner approval) to encourage restoration projects of building facades and to enhance the building’s overall exterior appearance, thus creating an improved central business district.

Eligible communities and central business districts in Upper Schuylkill are:

Ashland – Centre Street from 1st to 13th

Frackville – Lehigh Avenue from Catawissa to Spruce; Oak from Middle to Balliet

Girardville – Main Street from Richard to 3rd; North Second From Main to Mahanoy Avenue

Mahanoy City – Centre Street from 2nd to Catawissa; Main Street from Railroad to Maple; Mahanoy Avenue from Main to Locust

Ringtown – Main Street from 4th to 12th

Shenandoah – Main Street from Washington to Laurel; Centre Street from Jardin to White.

Upper Schuylkill offers reimbursement matching grants through funding received from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s Main Street Program. Design Challenge Grant funding must be matched dollar-for-dollar by the property/business owner. The Design Challenge Grant Program is designed to stimulate private investment in downtown properties, foster an attractive shopping environment, and preserve the architectural heritage of downtown.

Upper Schuylkill presents a comprehensive publication of Design Guidelines to serve as a reference guide. The Design Guidelines offer basic information about physical improvements, which have proven to be effective in the revitalization of other Central Business Districts throughout Pennsylvania. In addition, the Design Guidelines establish a set of principles to ensure that the improvements are consistent with the scale, character and history of the Central Business District.

An attractive and energetic Central Business District is essential to the success of the Upper Schuylkill Downtown Revitalization program and to the communities in which it serves. Implementation of the Upper Schuylkill Design Challenge Grant Program will result in a more competitive and economically viable downtown in each of our Six Great Towns.

The total reimbursement, per applicant, will not exceed 50% of the total project cost up to a maximum of $5,000 per storefront or as otherwise noted in the Design Guidelines. The grant cannot be used to pay for work that is currently in progress or completed. Eligible projects include: signs and awnings, murals, exterior painting and restoration, additions and architectural elements, exterior lighting, and corner, stand alone, or end of row buildings. The reimbursement dollar amounts for the projects can be found in the Upper Schuylkill Design Guidelines.

Interested applicants are required to meet with the Design Committee of their local downtown organization to discuss their project prior to completing the application process. The local Design Committee reserve the right to recommend projects that make the most impact in their downtown areas and recommend those projects for design assistance. Consideration will be given to the number of properties that can be assisted. For maximum impact, the central business district boundaries can be reduced by the local downtown Board of Directors and Design Committee to include a portion of the Main Street target area.

Applications will be accepted for review at any time throughout the year. The awarding of grants is dependent on funding from the PA Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) and is based on the allocation of funds for the Upper Schuylkill Design Challenge Grant Program from DCED.

Applicants are required to meet all codes and ordinances of their Borough and real estate taxes must be paid current.

For more information and to schedule an appointment to discuss your project, please contact the downtown representative in your town:

Ashland Downtown, Inc.

Greg Fisher, Main Street Manager at 570-875-3571

Frackville Downtown

John Guers, Executive Director of Upper Schuylkill at 570-276-6375

Girardville PRIDE

Kathy Centiole-Martone at 570-875-2764

Mahanoy Downtown, Inc.

Kate Mroczka -

Main Street Ringtown

Julian Milewski at 570-889-5123

Downtown Shenandoah, Inc.

Mary Luscavage, Main Street Manager at 570-462-2060

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