Facade Improvement Grant Program

Facade Improvement Grant Program


The City of Marshall recognizes that healthy business districts play an important role in the vitality of Marshall and understands there are many challenges that businesses can face. The Facade Improvement Matching Grant Program aims to help revitalize and sustain business districts. The Facade Improvement Matching Grant Program is designed to help create healthy commercial areas by providing incentives to improve the appearance of building facades and stimulate private investment. The Facade Improvement Matching Grant Program will be capped at $100,000 or 12 months, whichever comes first.


Who can apply for a matching grant?

Building owners and commercial tenants (with property owner’s approval) can apply for a Facade Improvement Matching Grant if:

  1. Project location must be within the City of Marshall,
  2. They are located within a business district AND
  3. The facade improvements are for a commercial business or commercial building..


For-profit and not-for-profit entities are eligible to apply, as long as the grant is used for a commercial building. Most commercial uses are retail and office; however, other uses may qualify, such as day care centers. Mixed-use buildings are eligible for the commercial portion for the building.

How much are the matching grants?

One matching grant can be a maximum of $10,000 per storefront/business address. All grants must be matched. 1:1 match means that every grant dollar must be matched by one dollar. Facade Grants will pay for 50% of the total project costs, up to a maximum of $10,000. Matching dollars can come from any non-facade Improvement Matching Grant source. Examples include private equity, loans, etc.

This is a reimbursement program. You must complete and pay for the total project cost or total private match, prior to receiving a reimbursement check from the program administrator.

What will the matching grant dollars pay for?

Facade Improvement Matching Grants can pay for many exterior, facade improvements. The work must be visible from a public street (and not an alley).

The following are eligible improvements for facade matching grants:

  • Exterior painting, re-siding, or professional cleaning
  • Restoration of exterior finishes and materials
  • Masonry repairs and tuck pointing
  • Removal of architecturally inappropriate or incompatible exterior finishes and materials
  • Restoration of architectural details or removal of materials that cover architectural details
  • Repair or replacement of windows and doors (if replacement, windows and doors must be architecturally appropriate)
  • Window and cornice flashing and repair
  • Canopy or awning installation or repair
  • Murals
  • Installation or repair of exterior signage
  • Removal of barriers to access the building from outside for people with disabilities
  • Exterior lighting
  • Contracted labor related to any of the above improvements, including design work for projects that are completed
  • Wall, window, hanging, and monument signs advertising the business name and identity
  • Living wall or “green façade”
  • Multiple improvement projects, not to exceed the maximum grant amount per business or storefront

The City of Marshall requires permits for most of the eligible improvements listed here. If you have any questions about permits, please visit City of Marshall Community Planning Department by calling 507-537-6051, or visit the Community Planning Department at 344 West Main Street, Marshall, MN.

What will the matching grant dollars NOT pay for?

The following activities are not eligible for matching grants:

  • Improvements in progress or completed prior to preliminary approval
  • Routine maintenance that is not part of an eligible façade improvement project
  • Billboards
  • Roofing
  • Mechanicals and HVAC systems
  • Interior work
  • New construction
  • Pylon, temporary, or roof signs
  • Interior window displays
  • Security systems (including metal roll down gates, window bars, cameras)
  • Trash and mechanical enclosures
  • Fencing
  • Landscaping
  • Parking areas
  • Bike parking
  • Improvements to non-commercial buildings
  • Improvement to a building interior, rear, or side not visible from the main street
  • Backlit awnings
  • Any other improvement not deemed eligible on the above list

How do I receive a grant?

Step 1: Be sure you meet program requirements.

  • The property is located in a business district.
  • The property is up-to-date on all property taxes.
  • All construction management is your responsibility. 
  • This is a reimbursement program; you must complete and pay for the private match for the work before the program administrator will issue a reimbursement check. See step 6 for further

Step 2: Set-up a meeting with the program administrator Karla Drown to discuss your project and review the Central Heritage District Exterior Construction Standards (Secs. 86-276 through 86-293) if you are located in the Heritage District.

Step 3: Submit the Façade Improvement Matching Grant Application and Participation Agreement to the program administrator, including:

  1. A written description of the project, including drawings, before photographs of the building, and other supporting materials that accurately represent scope and intent of project
  2. Two (2) contractors’ bids that meet the following
    1. Both bids must be for identical scopes of
    2. If qualified to do so, you may perform the work yourself; however, grant funds can only be used to compensate for materials, not for labor or the purchase or rental of tools and equipment. Sweat equity labor includes that of a friend, relative, or anyone with a financial interest in the business or
  • Evidence that contractors are bonded and/or
  1. Projects totaling less than $1,000 and murals only need to submit one
  2. Grant amounts are based on the lower bid; however, you are free to accept the higher
  3. All applications are reviewed and approved by a committee, the makeup of which varies. This step is different for each organization administering the

Step 4: Receive a signed copy of the Façade Improvement Matching Grant Application and Participation Agreement from the program administrator after the project has been approved. The Participation Agreement authorizes you to proceed with the project. Before you begin, be sure to obtain all the necessary City permits for the project or ensure your contractor pulled the necessary permits. Permit and taxes paid verification is required prior to grant disbursements.

Step 5: Complete the project and submit documentation to the program administrator within 24 months of the date on the signed Participation Agreement. The grant funds will be disbursed to you or to your contractor(s) by the program administrator after they have received ALL FOUR (4) of the following items (if more than one contractor is used, you must submit all four items for each contractor:

  1. Proof of final inspection by the City of Marshall Inspections Department for work requiring a City permit (a copy of the permit signed off by the responsible City Inspector).
  2. Final invoice from the contractor showing the total project
  3. Before and After Photographs highlighting the improvement project from the same vantage point.
  4. Proof of payment paid to contractor in one of the following two forms. You should be totally satisfied with the work before
    1. A lien waiver - a statement issued by the contractor that advises the client that they, the contractor, (a) have been paid in full for the total project cost, (b) are satisfied with the compensation for the work they performed, and (c) waive their right to place any liens on the property for the work completed. (If there are significant material costs, we advise you to obtain a lien waiver from the materials supplier, advising that the contractor paid them in full.) OR
    2. A cancelled check AND a signed receipt - if you only paid the matching funds (private match) portion of the contract and the contractor will wait for the final payment. You will need a copy of the actual cancelled check(s), returned to you by the bank you used to pay the contractor. Both the front and back of the check must be copied and must be made payable to the contractor for a minimum of the private match. You will also need a properly executed receipt, signed by an authorized officer of the contracting firm that includes the contractor’s name, address, telephone number, and notation that a minimum of the private match was paid in

For program questions, please contact:
Lauren Deutz
EDA Director

For reimbursement questions, please contact:

Annette Storm

344 West Main Street                        

Marshall, MN 56258