DBI Façade Improvement Program
A financial incentive program for storefront improvement projects in downtown Bedford.
The Main Street Program is a community based revitalization effort to improve the economic vitality of Bedford’s business district through a comprehensive design, promotion and business development program. It is funded by Downtown Bedford, Inc. (DBI) with support from the Borough of Bedford, local businesses and community members.
“This is an Equal Opportunity Program. Discrimination is prohibited by Federal Law. Complaints of discrimination may be filed with the Secretary of Agriculture, Washington, D. C. 20250.”
The DBI Façade Improvement Program provides grants to commercial property owners, or business owners with property owner approval, to encourage restoration of building facades, thereby enhancing the existing appearance. The DBI Design Committee utilizes grant funding received from the fundraising efforts of DBI to serve as an incentive to stimulate private investment in façade renovations. The implementation of the DBI Façade Improvement Program will result in a more competitive and economically viable business district.
An attractive image is of key importance to the success of any commercial area. That image depends on the appearance of the commercial area’s individual building assets. Façade and storefront improvements are one of the most effective proven ways of upgrading the image of a commercial area and ultimately attracting more business to the area. The DBI Façade Improvement Program also affords a property owner the opportunity to reverse past inappropriate architectural improvements. Many improvements do not need to be costly. Often a fresh coat of paint or a new sign or awning canopy may be all that is needed. Many commercial buildings throughout Bedford still retain architectural features that make them unique.
Property owners may find it beneficial to contract with a design architect, specializing in the rehabilitation/restoration of historic building facades. The schematic design rendering, if required or desired by the property owner, provides an excellent design plan, which shows the building at its potential best. It typically addresses the design and modifications of the storefront and upper floors in such a way as to enhance the architectural integrity of the building. If the street level or storefront of the building has fallen victim to contemporary change over the years, such as the application of siding or metal panels, etc., the architect will show in the rendering how the building could look if “brought back” in a way that enhances the original architectural design of the building. At the same time, it will address functional and financial requirements, as well as signage, awnings, and the actual paint color selection.
Approved project applications to improve building facades, will entitle the property owner to receive a funding grant for 50% of the project cost, but not to exceed a grant in the amount of $3,000. Signage construction and awning replacement/repair programs are part of the facade improvement program. Downtown Bedford, Inc., will represent the Borough of Bedford for the approval and administration of these funds.
This DBI Façade Improvement Program guideline booklet is meant to serve as a guide. This booklet cannot cover every situation nor solve every problem, but it can offer basic information about physical improvements, which have been proven to be effective in revitalizing other commercial districts throughout Pennsylvania. In addition, the design guidelines establish a set of design principles to insure that improvements are consistent with the scale, character and history of the particular neighborhood and town as a whole. These principles stress good maintenance of existing original architectural features and compatibility of replacement architectural elements and any new additions. The booklet is based on the National Main Street Storefront Guidelines, which are consistent with the ten “Secretary of the Interior” Standards* for Rehabilitation& Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings.