Downtown Stability and Improvement Matching Grant program

Program Overview   The Turner County Authority is reintroducing the Downtown Stability and Improvement matching grant program to encourage improvement and investment to the overall revitalization of the Downtown Ashburn Business District.  This program provides 50% of the projects costs up to $3,500 once all work has been complete and approved by the TCDA.  The matching grants funds are designed to finance interior and exterior improvements to a property owner or tenant’s commercial building that will be aesthetically pleasing and complimentary to local design guidelines or concepts acceptable to the Turner County Development Authority. The program is designed to retain and attract businesses, strengthen the Business District, increase utilization of downtown buildings, restore economic vitality and enhance property values.  The program is a reimbursement program and shall be administered on a first come first served basis.  Prospective applications should contact the Turner County Development Authority to get more information.  The Turner County Development Authority will accept applications year-round, or until funding reaches funding capacity. For questions regarding the Stability Improvement Matching Grant Program, please call or email Ashley Miller, 229-567-9696 or ashley@ashburnturnerchamber.com                                          
Façade Improvement Program Program Background: The Turner County Development Authority has developed a Downtown Stability Improvement program to encourage improvement and investment to the overall revitalization of the Downtown Ashburn Business District.  This program provides up to $3,500 in matching grant funds to finance exterior and interior improvements to a property owner or tenant’s commercial building that will be aesthetically pleasing and complimentary to local design. Program Purpose: The purpose of the program is to provide financial incentive to business owners located within the Downtown Ashburn Business District and to provide an opportunity to upgrade the exterior of their building.  The program is designed to retain and attract businesses, strengthen the Downtown Ashburn Business District, increase utilization of downtown buildings, restore economic vitality and enhance property values. Available Funding:  The program is a reimbursement program.  The applicant (owner, purchaser or tenant of a property) shall pay all design and construction expenses related to improvements to the exterior facades of an existing commercial building.  The Turner County Development Authority shall reimburse the applicant for the eligible improvement expenses not exceeding the approved matching grant amount at the project completion.  The Stability Improvement Matching Grant Program will not be applied retroactively to works started prior to the commencement of this program.  The program shall be administrated on a first come first served basis.  However, projects that promise a greater economic impact will be given greater priority of funding. Eligible uses: Exterior Uses: Signs (installation of new or repair or replacement of legally installed and mounted signs); Awnings, canopies, or sunshades (installation of new or repair or replacement of fixed metal or fabric awning’s), which could include perpendicular wall-mounted castle banners; Painting or exterior surface treatment (stucco, tiles, stone, or brick replacement or repair); Asphalt paving (allowed only if proposed within a larger improvement project involving significant building façade improvements) Replacement or repair of tiles or decorative pavers; (not in the public right of way); sidewalk or courtyard repaving, repair of replacement of restoration of façade masonry, brickwork or wood.  Outdoor lighting (installation of new exterior lighting fixtures; repair or replacement of existing exterior lighting fixtures) installation, repair or replacement of decorative or security fencing; replacement or repair of windows.  Replacement, repair or restoration of cornices, eaves, parapets and other architectural features.  Entranceway modifications that improve the appearance and or access to the commercial units.  Restoration of historic features.  Redesign and reconstruction of the store front. Interior Uses: This will be limited to aesthetics of interior of the building, paint, carpets, ceiling tiles, sheetrock, paneling, new design office/retail spaces. Upgrades to restroom facilities such as fixtures are acceptable as well.  Or other approved improvements given special permission by the TCDA Board. Eligible Applicants and Projects:  Applicants eligible to apply for the Stability Improvement Matching Grant Program must meet the following criteria: 1. A property owner or business tenant that is willing to improve the exterior facades of existing commercial buildings located along public streets within Downtown Ashburn Business District.  Projects involving a previously funded building may be considered after completion of any previous projects.  Owners may received assistance for more than one building provided that funding is available.  A maximum of one gran application per store front shall be accepted at a time..  Applicants should contact the Tuner County Development Authority at 229-5567-9696 for determination for property eligibility. The grant will not be applied retroactively to works started prior to the commencement of this program.  This is a matching grant program, all funds must be matched by the tenant or property owner. Application Process: Applicants submit a completed application form.  Applications can be downloaded at www.turnerchamber.com or picked up at the Ashburn-Turner County Chamber of Commerce.  Completed applications with supporting documentation are forwarded to the review committee for approval.  Applicants with incomplete applications are informed of their deficiencies.  The review committee meets once a month to approve loan applications..  Once a completed application is submitted, the review committee will review the application and make a determination on the project within 45 days. 

Prior to the project commencement, the applicant must provide:

  1.  a copy of the construction contract
  2. two third party written quotes for the improvements
  3. an email or written correspondence to the Turner County Development Authority indicating their contractor of choice and reasons for the selection (Ex. Lowest price, best quality, project consistency) Once the contract is reviewed and approved, the Turner County Development Authority staff will schedule a meeting with the building owner and finalize work detail. 

ANY PROPOSED IMPROVEMENTS MUST BE IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE MUNICIPAL BUILDING CODE AND DOWNTOWN ASHBURN BUSINESS DISTRICT DESIGN STANDARDS. Please see the Building and Zoning director at Turner County Board of Commissioners for guidance on these standards, their phone number is 229-567-3563. If approved, the applicant is responsible for obtaining all building permits.  The applicant is responsible for conformance with all applicable safety standards and conditions.  The applicant also agrees to maintain the property and the improvements.  A matching grant closing date will be scheduled to disburse a reimbursement check for completed work once the applicant submits final invoices for completed work, canceled checks as proof of payment and photos of the completed work.  The total reimbursement shall not exceed $3,500.