Facade Improvement Program

The City of Cottage Grove is excited to announce a competitive grant opportunity for façade improvements. Eligible building or business owners, may apply for Empty Store Frontgrant assistance up to 50% of the cost of improvements - up to $25,000. Apply for the program.


The City of Cottage Grove is looking to strengthen the vitality of the community by improving the overall appearance of our commercial district. The purpose of the façade improvement program is to enhance our existing commercial buildings through financial assistance to property and business owners. These improvements are meant to help beautify buildings, increase consumer awareness of businesses and sustain a healthy commercial building stock in Cottage Grove.


Any business or property owner in a commercially zoned building within the City of Cottage Grove city limits. Criteria for selection will be based on the following:

  • Ability to encourage improvements to surrounding businesses
  • Ability to improve the appearance and attractiveness of an area
  • Building owners who have not previously been awarded a grant will be considered before those who have already received grant funding
  • Compliance with City Codes
  • Consistent with Cottage Grove Comprehensive Plan
  • Location within the City of Cottage Grove (view the priority project map (PDF))

Application Due Date

Applications for the 2021 Façade Improvement Grant Program are due by July 1, 2021. Projects submitted after July 1 will be considered if funding is available.

NEW Program Addition

Design Assistance allows applicants to apply for an additional $2,000 (matching funds are not required) to procure a licensed design professional/architect to assist with creative design to ensure appropriate scale and scope of the desired revitalization project for the exterior of the building. If funds are given for Design Assistance the design must be incorporated into the project in order to receive the funds. 

Eligible Improvements

Façade Improvement Grants can pay for a variety of exterior building façade improvements. Grants are awarded for 50% of the costs of improvements for a maximum of $25,000. The work must be visible from a public street. The following improvements are eligible for grants:

  • Canopy or awning installation or repair
  • Exterior building or accent lighting (parking lot lighting ineligible)
  • Exterior painting or re-siding
  • Landscaping work done as part of a larger project (up to 25% of total project cost eligible)
  • Masonry repairs and tuckpointing
  • Removal of architecturally inappropriate or incompatible exterior finishes and materials
  • Removal of barriers to building access for pedestrians and people with disabilities (Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance)
  • Repair or replacement of exterior wall or monument signs
  • Repair or replacement of windows and doors (replacement must be architecturally appropriate)
  • Restoration of exterior finishes and materials

Ineligible Improvements

  • Billboards, roof, pylon, off-premise or temporary signs
  • Dynamic display or electronic message signs
  • Fencing (excludes decorative fencing as part of the landscaping improvement)
  • Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems, building mechanicals, or security systems
  • Improvements already in progress or completed prior to approval
  • Improvements to a building interior
  • Improvements to non-commercial zoned buildings
  • Parking areas
  • Permits
  • Purchase or rental of tools and equipment, or for labor performed by the building or business owner, family members, employees, or any other person with a financial interest in the property or business. Grant funds may be used to pay for materials.
  • Roofing
  • Routine maintenance that is not part of an eligible façade improvement project
  • Sidewalks (excludes bringing sidewalks in to ADA compliance)

How to Apply

Please complete the Façade Improvement Application.

You will be required to supply the following documents in addition to the application:

  • Estimates supplied by a City of Cottage Grove licensed contractor
  • Evidence supporting your ability to cover 50% of project costs (i.e. bank statement, loan approval letter)
  • If you do not own the building a letter of support from the building owner with their contact information
  • Itemized budget of the project
  • Photos of the current façade
  • Proposed project description, detailing the entire scope of improvements you would like to undertake on the building

Disbursement Process

Applications will be reviewed internally before being brought before the City of Cottage Grove Economic Development Administration (EDA) for approval. If approved a letter of approval will be given to the applicant letting them know they may begin work on the project. Grant funds will not be disbursed until after all proposed work in the project description is completed. At that time, you will be required to submit copies of all receipts/invoices detailed in the project budget and photos of the completed work. After those items are completed and found to match the application your grant funds will be awarded.


If you have any questions on how to apply or what work qualifies for the program, please email Jennifer Levitt or call 651-458-2890.

2019 Façade Improvement Program Recipient

Facade Improvement Program Recipient Weight Loss and Massage Before and After