The city of Clearwater’s Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) will provide financial assistance to help business owners and property owners in Downtown Clearwater improve the appearance of their commercial buildings.

The city of Clearwater recently amended its Facade Improvement Program making business and property owners along Cleveland Street and Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard in the Downtown Gateway eligible to receive a $25,000 grant or more to improve the facade at their commercial property.

The CRA can match dollar for dollar up to 50 percent of the total construction cost for façade improvements. Grants $25,000 or less can be approved by the CRA director for a quicker application and approval process than the previous program.

Additionally, the Facade Improvement Program applicant can receive a $4,000 grant for architectural design assistance.

With the $4,000 grant, paid directly to the architect, the applicant can receive expert advice from an architect about the project, its feasibility and possible budget. The architect will also provide designs or drawings showing the suggested changes to the facade, preliminary colors and possible signage.

The grants under the Facade Improvement Program cover major facade alterations, cosmetic improvements, public art, signage, awnings and painting.

“Building a beautiful, walkable downtown is key to supporting new businesses,” said Amanda Thompson, the city’s CRA director. “The CRA trustees are ready to match new investments that improve the appearance of the buildings in Downtown Clearwater’s Community Redevelopment Area.”

Each application will be evaluated through a point system by the CRA staff, who will determine if the facade improvement meets the requirements and how much grant money will be awarded to the applicant.

To apply for the Facade Improvement Program or to learn more, visit downtownclearwater.com/doing-business/incentives-grants or contact Anne Fogarty France, the city’s downtown manager at anne.fogarty-france@myclearwater.com