Wheeling’s Façade Improvement Program Continues to Support Revitalization in the City
WHEELING, W.VA. – In 2021, Wheeling City Council has approved nearly $190,000 in Façade Improvement Program (FIP) grants and applications are now being accepted for the next quarter, with the deadline being Nov. 30.
Director of Economic and Community Development Nancy Prager said the purpose of the FIP is to support the revitalization of the City by stimulating private investment in high-quality improvements that enhance the appearance of buildings and properties and eliminate blight and non-conforming design standards. Prager noted that this year to date, $766,492 of private investment related to the façade improvement projects has been made within the City.
“The Façade Improvement Program can provide up to $15,000 based on the project cost. Eligible upgrades to the primary façade include exterior building improvements, signage and roof repairs or replacements,” she said.
Prager further explained that applications are reviewed by a five-person committee which then make recommendations to City Council’s Development Committee. The Development Committee then makes a recommendation to City Council as a whole. Council approves the projects selected for the FIP. The five-person committee considers the following information when reviewing an application and making their recommendation to City Council: historical/architectural significance of the property; number of times the building has been previously funded by program; number of times the owner has been previously funded by program; existing conditions/occupancy status; overall consistency with purpose of the program; evaluation of relative visual public benefit or impact to the streetscape; proposed work to the property; and level of investment.
“This program has resulted in visible improvements not only to the central business district, but in other parts of Wheeling. I encourage anyone who is eligible to consider applying while the funding is available,” said Vice Mayor Chad Thalman.
After implementing a successful Façade Improvement Program for the City’s Central Business District four years ago, City Council passed a resolution in April expanding the program that opened up the FIP to commercial districts in other Wheeling neighborhoods.
The program expansion allows inclusion of privately owned commercial buildings within the C-1 and C-2 zoning distracts and the Central Business District as well as any property, residential or commercial, in a qualified historic district in the City that has approved Design Review.
Regulations, the application and zoning maps are available at www.wheelingwv.gov/facade.