Applications will be received for all commercial properties within the Downtown Bedford revitalization area of the Borough of Bedford. Qualifying commercial properties include single-purpose retail and office buildings and mixed-use buildings containing combinations of retail, office, residential apartments, backs of buildings (if used as a public entrance.) All applying businesses also must have business hours greater than twenty-five hours per week. The revitalization area includes Pitt Street, from West Street to Bedford Street; Central Way from West Street to Bedford Street; Penn Street from Thomas Street to Richard Street; and Vondersmith Avenue from Lafayette to Richard Street; Juliana Street from Penn Street to Pitt Street; and Richard Street from Vondersmith Avenue to just before the bridge that crosses over the Raystown Branch of the Juniata River. Commercial structures with frontage on two eligible streets would be eligible for priority consideration.
Please see enclosed map for more details.
DBI Eligible Projects and Activities
The maximum DBI Facade Improvement Grant that may be awarded is $3,000 for projects costing $6,000 or more. Please remember the total reimbursement, per applicant will not exceed $3,000 and may not and will not exceed 50% of the total project costs. Grants are made on a cost reimbursement basis, following a process of application, design review and approval, and construction. Receipt of grant awards is contingent upon submittal of construction cost invoices from bona fide contractors or tradesmen.
I. Exterior Woodwork and Architectural Materials
This category refers to the repair, cleaning, refinishing, painting, restoration, repointing, or replacement of exterior woodwork or architectural materials.
This category refers to masonry repairs, restoration, repointing, repainting (only if originally painted), or low- pressure water or steam cleaning.
III. Windows and Doors
This category refers to the repair, replacement, installation, repainting or restoration of windows (including display, ornamental, upper-story and storm windows) and exterior doors.
IV. Cornices, Parapets and Roofs
This category is for the installation or repair of cornices, parapets, or roofs when part of facade renovation, or independently, when it is a visible part of the facade.
V. Signs, Awnings and Canopies
This category is for the maintenance and repair or removal and replacement of existing signs, or the installation of new signs or retractable cloth awnings and canopies.
VI. Lighting Fixtures
This is for the exterior lighting fixtures, which are associated with a building facade, or to provide indirect sign lighting. The lighting fixtures chosen must be appropriate to the age and character of the building.
Eligible Projects and Activities & Downtown Bedford, Inc. Recommendations
I. Exterior Woodwork and Architectural Elements
Painting & Exterior Decoration
The condition of Bedford’s commercial buildings is immediate visual evidence as to the vitality of the overall town. All buildings within the Bedford Main Street program project area should be recognized as products of their own time.
Paint Color Selection – In selecting colors, it is very common to use four colors; one primary facade color, and two or three trim colors that are complementary. Color selection should also be based on the color pattern of the buildings on either side of the project site.
The original materials used for wall facings, such as brick, sheet metal or cast iron and paint colors help give buildings their special character, as well as provide visual harmony to the entire streetscape. Covering original facing details with inappropriate materials like aluminum, or vinyl siding, for example robs a facade of its architectural identity and destroys its relationship to the immediate neighborhood. Repair and proper ongoing maintenance of exterior decorative features and paint coatings is a better solution to the problem of a deteriorating facade. By taking advantage of the quality of the original materials, the life of the building will be indefinitely prolonged.
- All wood structures and wood trim will be prepared for re-painting by manual scraping to reveal the original architectural details, if present. Wood should not be cleaned by sandblasting, or by using pressurized water or steam. While paint is a very reversible treatment, paint color(s) should nonetheless be chosen from those colors that are appropriate to the period of the building and it should be applied to the architectural features of Bedford buildings in a period appropriate fashion.
- Single color schemes and contemporary colors be avoided for early buildings, for example; Victorian. The placement of accent colors and the relationship lights to darks should be in keeping with the character of the building. Benjamin Moore and Sherman Williams Paints both have historic color palettes.
- The choice of color palette is made to correspond with the era the building was erected.
- Avoiding a stark, bright white, as it is not historically correct. In many cases the original color(s) used can be determined with a minimum of detective work and would be appropriate for use.
Sheet Metal Work:
- The cleaning of sheet metal, if necessary with chemical paint remover. Never sandblast or use abrasives on sheet metal.
- The repair or replacement of damaged areas with sections duplicated by a commercial sheet metal shop, or use of automobile fiberglass compounds to fill and patch voids.
- Proper priming and painting with oil-based paint products to prevent rusting.
Cast Iron Work:
- Wire-brushing to remove loose or deteriorating paint and rust. Chemical removers should be avoided; heat or low pressure sandblasting may be used for removal purposes.
- Missing cast iron parts will be recast in aluminum, fiberglass or reinforced gypsum polymer cements.
- Proper priming and painting with rust inhibitive paint products made for use on exterior metal surfaces.
Materials and Details:
- All materials, details and colors will be compatible with the overall design of the building, as well as the surrounding buildings.
- Original architectural features will be retained and replaced whenever possible.
- If a building is attached to other buildings, the pattern and/or prominence of the materials used in adjacent buildings will be taken into account.
Scale and Mass:
- Overall scale, massing and proportions relate to and will be compatible with those of adjacent and surrounding buildings.
- Changes in scale and mass, such as a wall offset, or roofline variation will be made through graduated increments.
- Buildings avoid long, uninterrupted wall or roof planes. Building wall offsets, and changes in floor level can be used to add interest and variety.
- Roof line offsets, cross gables and dormers be used to help vary the massing of the building.
- Visibly exposed sides of a building will be defined with a base and cap or cornice.
Service Areas and Mechanical Equipment:
- Loading areas, waste facilities, air conditioning units, exhaust and vent stacks, elevator penthouses and antennae be located to the rear of buildings or screened from view.
- The use of interior refuse rooms in lieu of dumpsters or other methods of waste removal.
- Fire escapes will not be permitted on front facades.
- Buildings that are made of brick be cleaned by the gentlest of methods such as steam or low-pressure water. Never sandblast or use abrasives on brick.
- As brick is one of the least costly building materials to maintain, it needs only periodic cleaning and repointing to preserve its original beauty and long life.
- When appropriate, the use of the process of repointing. Repointing is the removal of deteriorated mortar from the joints of a masonry wall and replacing it with new mortar. When properly done, repointing restores the visual and physical integrity of the masonry. Improperly done, repointing detracts from the appearance of the building and may cause physical damage to the masonry.
- When repointing, match the new mortar to the original compressive strength, color, composition, depth and type of joint.
- If brick is already painted it may be cleaned with a chemical paint remover, but a test should be done to make certain that the masonry wouldn’t be damaged by the process. Sometimes brick used in older buildings was of a poor quality and was meant to be protected. Painting over unpainted brick is not suggested or encouraged.
- The repairing of stucco by removing the damaged material only and patching with new stucco that duplicates the old in strength, composition, color and texture.
- The replacement of decorative masonry features only when they are missing or too deteriorated.
III. Windows and Doors:
- Windows will be compatible with the style, materials, colors and details of the building.
- Location of upper windows will align vertically with storefronts and entrances.
- The window opening rhythm will not be broken by blocking up window openings, or the use of undersized or oversized windows. The rhythm should be maintained by keeping openings, windows and decorative trim consistent with the original.
- Existing windows be retained whenever possible. If replacement is necessary the new windows should match the originals in size, material and style.
- Where appropriate to the design of a building, shutters will be provided on all front facing windows and other windows visible from the street. Proper hardware should be used for the installation of the shutters.
Store Fronts and Entrances:
- Storefronts will be compatible with the upper floors to retain the overall character of a building.
- Retail, service and restaurant uses have large pane display windows on the ground level.
- Buildings with multiple storefronts will be unified through the use of architecturally compatible materials including: colors, details, awnings, signage, and lighting.
- The retention of the original proportions of display window glass and any special features such as transoms, leaded glass, etc.
- Entrances will be defined by architectural elements such as: lintels, pediments, pilasters, columns, porticos, porches, railings, balustrades, etc.
IV. Cornices, Parapets and Roofs
Roofs and Walls:
- The roof form will be appropriate to the building as well as that of the neighboring buildings.
- The use of cross gables, dormers, belvederes, masonry chimneys, cupolas, and other similar elements where appropriate to the design of the building.
- Flat roofs will be avoided on (1) and (1 1/2) story buildings.
- The front facade or wall of a building facing a street will be emphasized through window patterns and proportions, entrance treatment and details.
- Visible side and rear walls will be compatible with the design of the front facade.
- The use of blank and/or windowless walls will be discouraged. However, if necessary they should utilize articulation, or elements compatible with the other wall facings.
V. Signs, Awnings and Canopies
Signs have a dramatic impact on the impression of the business district. Clear and concise signs are essential to every business. Effective signage, awnings and canopies are attractive. Simple, properly sized, constructed of appropriate materials, and properly located, they enhance the image of the business district. Appropriate signage often includes a combination of sign types for effective customer recognition. Proper signs can accentuate and complement the overall architecture, as well as architectural details of a structure. A sign is the emblem of a business conveying its professionalism to a potential customer. A sign also advertises, creates curb appeal and encourages walk-in traffic.
Sign and awnings design, materials, and color schemes must be approved by the DBI Design Review Committee and the Bedford Historic Architectural Review Board.
- Flush Signs are generally meant to be viewed from a distance. These signs are visible when you are directly facing a structure’s façade, or from across the street. This type of sign ideally should be placed on a vacant panel above a door or display windows.
- Projecting Signs are primarily meant to attract the attention of pedestrians because they overhang the sidewalk.
- Freestanding Signs are appropriate when a structure is set back ten or more feet from the sidewalk. This type of sign alerts people that a business exists when the structure may be partially hidden from pedestrian or vehicular traffic.
- Window Signs are applied on the inside of a display window or door. Generally the viewer would need to be relatively close to the sign for viewing, but will depend on a structure’s window configuration.
- Awnings and Canopies are both functional and decorative. They provide sun control for merchandise in the display windows and shelter for pedestrian shoppers. An added feature of awnings and canopies is that they bring the appeal of color to the individual building, business, and streetscape.
Location of Signage:
- The use of display windows for creative signage.
- Utilizing lettering on a structure itself to recreate the feel of an earlier era. This type of sign should replace any other main identification sign.
- Locating signs, awnings, and canopies to avoid covering or overwhelming architectural details such as cornices, trim, windows, decorative brickwork, or other unique structure characteristics.
- Sign orientation for pedestrians should be detailed so as to appeal to someone proceeding slowly at close range.
- Limiting the number and size of signs on storefront display windows and doors. Signs should be sized to balance, not hide or overwhelm the structure. The size of the signs and types of signs must conform to Bedford Borough’s sign ordinance.
- External lighting fixtures rather than utilizing internally lit plastic fixtures, including neon signs and spotlights.
- Lighting will be directed only on the sign itself and not on the surrounding area.
- Lighting fixtures, if visible, will be compatible with the period of the structure.
Construction / Design of Signage, Awnings, Canopies:
- Sign material(s) and design(s) that reflect the period of the building and the design of the storefront. Additionally, the colors of the sign, awning, or canopy should complement the paint scheme of the storefront facade.
- The use of artisan-crafted signs and quality sign materials manufactured specifically by the sign industry for handcrafted signs such as wood, metal and urethane.
- The colors to be used should complement the paint scheme of the storefront facade to distinguish the type of business and create interest without losing community appeal and continuity.
- The use of building elements with the sign design when feasible.
- The lettering of the sign to be kept to a minimum and likewise, the message should be brief and to the point. A logo and/or illustration can be substituted to communicate the nature of the business.
- The avoidance of using multiple signs where one sign would be sufficient thereby avoiding confusion and distraction. However, the use of small secondary signs for directional purposes that maintain the same design elements of the main identification sign.
- Awnings and canopies may display the name and nature of the business on the front face and/or side facings.
- Awnings may be fixed or retractable.
- Awnings may be used on the ground or upper level floors as appropriate to maintain the architectural style and provide functionality.
- When erecting an awning or canopy select a weather-treated canvas or other natural looking material. Plastic, wood, or metal awnings and canopies are not appropriate. Additionally, the awnings or canopy should not be oversized and should fit within the storefront area not covering architectural elements.
VI. Lighting Fixtures
- The use of minimum wattage metal halide or high-pressure sodium light sources. Low-pressure sodium and mercury vapor light sources are discouraged.
- Decorative lampposts that conform to the downtown Bedford light standards within the focus area. The lampposts are recommended especially along the frontage of the gateways and entry corridors.
- Persons or businesses who wish to sponsor a lamp post for the downtown area are asked to download the Lamp Post Sponsorship Application and returned the completed form, with payment, to the DBI office.
VII. Design Assistance
The most enjoyable places we visit, or patronize are generally very comfortable for reasons that we may not readily notice or think about. These hidden assets of a community are made up of relationships between natural and man-made elements and ourselves. The architecture of our town is the visible face of these relationships. Scale, mass, rhythm, patterns, materials, shapes, and colors are some of the ingredients used to define streetscapes and public spaces. The use of professional services to help maintain these ingredients is an acceptable component of your project.