The City of Fort Myers Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) aims to improve the appearance, property values and economic activity in the City’s redevelopment districts through the Fort Myers’ Commercial Redevelopment Districts Landscape/Façade Matching Grant Program (Matching Grant Program).
The CRA recognizes that the appearance of a building and its surrounding landscaping are important in creating the urban image and character of the corridor on which they are located. The CRA also realizes that the investment in improving the physical appearance of the redevelopment area is just that—an investment. Since 2006, the CRA Board has awarded grants to 17 projects within the four Cleveland redevelopment districts. The grant awards, which total $845,900, have spurred approximately $23 million of private investment and have created almost 500 jobs.
As a way to encourage the public to visit a redevelopment area, this grant is an incentive that encourages the infusion of private capital along each corridor. The intent of the program is to inspire and motivate property owners or people looking at buying property within one of the redevelopment districts to go above and beyond the minimum code requirements and/or to improve their property in a manner which follows the vision set forth in the redevelopment plan for the district in which it is located. The increased tax revenue resulting from the improved properties will, in effect, help pay back the CRA’s investment, and allow the CRA to apply these new funds to future revitalization and redevelopment efforts.
The grant funds should be used to enhance the quality of the project, the curb appeal, and ultimately, the property values along the corridor. The desired end result is a superior product which may not have occurred without the additional grant funds. For example, if an applicant has a budget of a $100,000 and applies for a $10,000 grant, the CRA envisions the overall project budget increasing to $110,000 as opposed to the applicant’s contribution decreasing to $90,000.
In summary, the Matching Grant Program has been designed to:
1) Improve a property’s appearance,
2) Increase the property values within the district;
3) Fill vacant or underutilized spaces,
4) Encourage adaptive reuse, and
5) Improve the overall visual environment of the commercial area.
Over time, the commitment of both the CRA and the business and property owners who take advantage of the Matching Grant Program will encourage other owners and tenants to improve their properties, which will ultimately lead to an increase in the taxable values of the redevelopment district.
For information about the grant program, please contact Leigh Scrabis (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Michele Hylton-Terry (email@example.com) by email or by calling (239) 321-7100.