By Chelsea Bunker
It has been nearly nine months since the May 8, 2017, hail storm that battered most of the structures in Wheat Ridge. As you venture through the city, you can now see shiny new roofs on a majority of homes, but many commercial properties are still enveloped in ongoing reconstruction. One reason for this is that local business owners saw a unique opportunity to not only repair their properties after the storm, but also improve their buildings and the exterior curb appeal. The process and financial impact of redesigning façades, updating signs, adding landscaping or making other visual improvements has been made a little easier for Wheat Ridge businesses thanks to the help of matching grants from the Wheat Ridge Business District (WRBD).
Founded in 2002, the WRBD is a nonprofit organization that partners with businesses and commercial property owners to help revitalize and improve buildings in Wheat Ridge. The WRBD is a valuable resource to our local economic development, offering matching grants for façade improvements, sign improvements, new exterior paint, updated landscaping, visual impact special projects and even accessibility improvements for entrance ramps and restrooms. These incentive programs are funded by the City of Wheat Ridge to improve the appearance and accessibility of buildings and the overall look of the city.
Last August, the WRBD Board of Directors excitedly approved a new larger grant opportunity, the Façade Plus program. This limited-time matching grant was specifically created for businesses looking to make drastic and dramatic improvements to the curb appeal of their buildings after that big May hail storm. The WRBD board kicked this new grant off with an informational open house event in September and an application deadline of early October. After reviewing applications and conducting site visits, the WRBD is now in the final approval phase of the Façade Plus program. These projects should all be approved and announced in early 2018 and finishing up by early 2019.
Localworks is a partner in administering the program for the all-volunteer board of the Wheat Ridge Business District. If you want to improve your commercial property and learn more about funds available through the WRBD, call Localworks today at 720-259-1030. More information and the application can be found online at www.WeAreLocalworks.org/business. Additionally, Localworks has several other programs that can help both new and established businesses in Wheat Ridge. The staff is eager to help and answer any questions.
Chelsea Bunker is the Community Engagement Coordinator for Localworks.