By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD – In March 27 Marshfield Common Council action, the board approved a transfer of funds that will breathe life into the downtown façade program.
“Originally, 2017 was going to be the last year for the façade program,” said Director of Development Services Josh Miller. “We didn’t budget any money for the 2018 program.
“It’s been a very successful program over the course, since 2009, when it was initiated… We have had a few requests come forward this year, asking for additional funding for the façade program.
“The (Economic Development Board – EDB) reviewed it, took a look at some of the numbers from the past years, and did make a request to add $50,000 – take $50,000 from our 205 (Revolving Loan) Fund – and that would allow us to fund the 2018 program.”
The façade program grew out of Marshfield’s 2008 Strategic Plan, which identified three different subcommittees to help advance the city. One of the subcommittees – the Community Development Subcommittee—developed the grant program to encourage improvements downtown.
The Façade Improvement Program was launched using $50,000 in funds designated by the city, for the downtown area from Veterans Parkway to Fifth Street, on buildings facing Central Avenue.
The overwhelming response encouraged organizers and the city to expand the Façade Improvement Program, adding funds and enlarging the coverage area.
In 2011, the program was extended to all properties within the downtown TIF (Tax Incremental Financing) District.
As the grant program progressed, Main Street Marshfield and the EDB stepped in and took over the funding through their annual budgets.
From 2009-2014, the program administered grants for 44 projects, implementing $2.2 million of improvements through public and private funds.
In 2016 the program was changed to allow for the rear façades.
“(The 2018 program) would be similar to past programs, a 50-50 match, and allow us to fund a number of projects in the downtown and beautify the façade,” Miller said.
“The one change that the EDB is proposing to do is adding ADA accessibility for eligibility for the projects, as well as allowing gravel areas to be hard surfaced, which would improve some of the sites.”
Buildings within TIF District No. 4 are eligible to apply. For more information on this program, contact the Main Street Marshfield office or Josh Miller at City Hall.