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Storefront Improvement Program
One of the more important activities proposed by the Woburn Square Revitalization Plan is the provision of technical and financial assistance to commercial property owners for the renovation of existing, deteriorating facades. As part of the initial implementation of the plan, the WRA, using its own funds, successfully completed a pilot Storefront Improvement Program which renovated four deteriorating downtown facades, including 389-393 Main Street (Marco’s Italian Cold Cuts), 406 Main Street (Bontrager’s Hair Salon), 383 Main Street the Thai Rice Restaurant), and 385 Main Street (the façade portion of the work at the Pilgrim Building).

Grant Development Office
In April, 2003, the City of Woburn Grant Development Office prepared and submitted an application to the Massachusetts Community Development Program (CDBG), in collaboration with the WRA, to provide resources for the continuation of those two programs. In August, 2003, the city was awarded a grant of $168,070 by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), which administers the CDBG program. The Woburn Redevelopment Authority is the administering agency.

Property and Cost
Under the Woburn Square Storefront Improvement Program, businesses and property owners will be provided with technical and financial assistance for the restoration and renovation of building facades and signage. This will include a grant equal to 50 percent of the cost of façade improvements, up to a maximum grant of $25,000. For projects which only involve the fabrication and installation of new storefront signage or sign awnings, the maximum grant will be $2,500. A total of $116,000 is available from the grant for direct financial assistance, of which $10,000 has been set-aside for signage and awnings, only.

Eligibility Criteria
Applicants for participation in the program must meet the following eligibility criteria:
  • Properties must be located within the Woburn Square Revitalization Area;
  • Applicants must be property owners or tenants operating retail businesses, service establishments or offices.
    • Tenants must have written approval of the property owner
  • Commercial properties must be up to date on all federal, state, and municipal fees and taxes prior to participation in the program;
  • Commercial properties must comply with state and local code requirements;
  • Participants must comply with all state and local laws and regulations pertaining to licensing and permits
The proposed façade work must not have been completed or begun prior to the approval of the design and grant award by the WRA.

Application Review
Priorities Review of Applications for the SIP Program will begin on Wednesday, October 15, 2003. In the event that the available funds are not sufficient to cover all applications received, the applications will be evaluated and selected for funding based upon the following priorities:
  • Properties which have at least one commercial unit occupied by the owner of the building
  • Projects which will include the restoration of significant historical or architectural building elements
  • Properties which are a significant blighting influence on the downtown area
  • Projects which will include an investment in private funds greater than the minimum required