Norwich Township launches facade improvement program

By Jennifer Vandermeer, Norwich Gazette/IngersollTimes

Property owners in the downtown areas of Norwich and Otterville can now access funds to help them pay for improvements to the outside of their business.

Township council launched its facade improvement program last week. At its April 14 meeting, CAO Kyle Kruger suggested the program allow for interest-free loans of 50% of project costs, up to $5,000 on an approved project. The loans will be amortized over 10 years with no payments due for three years.

The facade improvement program is part of the township's Community Improvement Plan and applies to properties within the community improvement areas in the two villages which are outlined in the plan. The CIP, approved by council in September 2014, is a tool for the township to provide assistance in planning and financing development and redevelopment in the two key downtown areas of the township.

No money was budgeted in 2015 for the facade improvement loan program, but $50,000 can be made available for qualifying projects with minimal impact on the township's cash flow, said Kruger.

The intent of the program is to help property owners within the CIA with street-front improvements, help them retain professional design services; and help bring participating buildings in line with the township's property standards bylaw.

Some items that may be approved include exterior street-front renovations to entrances, repair of facade brick work, exterior painting and/or cleaning treatments.

Work that is done before a loan application is approved by the township is not eligible for the program.

The program comes with guidelines, an application and a list of qualifications that are available on the township website at Hard copies of the program and requirements are also available at the township office.

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