The downtown store front Commercial Improvement Program (CIP) is less than 2 years old, but has brought in at least a three-fold return on the Town’s investment. Crafted by Town Planner Erin Wortman and established by the Board of Selectmen in late 2015, the CIP provides matching financial assistance to property owners or business tenants seeking to improve storefront façade, sign, window, or lighting in the targeted downtown area.
The objective is to help merchants and business property owners enhance the appearance of their own buildings and the surrounding downtown. CIP provides a matching grant for the funding of well-designed improvements that coordinate all the important features of a storefront into a more attractive and cohesive image. Qualifying improvements can also include window sills, non-structural/decorative lintels, cornices and historic buildings’ front doors. CIP grant funding is available up to $3,000 per business and requires a minimum 50% match from the applicant.
The CIP is visual proof of the Town’s commitment to business owners, and to date seven downtown businesses have taken advantage of the program. To further encourage applications and ease the process, the Stoneham Town Planner’s office shoulders much of the paperwork and project management responsibilities.
But! Downtown business owners – take note! Approximately $10,000 of grant monies remains in the program, and once the funds are depleted, they are gone.
To apply, interested business owners can contact Town Planner Erin Wortman at 781-507-2445, or EWortman@stoneham-ma.gov. Further details are also available on the website at http://www.stoneham-ma.gov/town-planner/news/stoneham-commercial-improvement-program.