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Facelift for Tucson businesses, city will grant matching funds up to $20,000

Posted at 5:01 AM, Sep 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-22 09:24:09-04

TUCSON, Ariz — An opportunity to improve the look of Tucson businesses may be available to owners. Tucson just launched its visual improvement program.

Connect Tucson’s Visual Improvement Program (VIP) is to encourage the investment and revitalization of key commercial areas through certain improvements. And it’s designed to impact properties in need.

“We do have limited funding available through the CBG [Community Block Grant] dollars for this current fiscal year. And so what we're doing is operating the program on a first-come, first-serve basis right now,” said Kevin Burke, the city of Tucson’s economic initiatives deputy director.

Applicants are asked to apply by providing a detailed description of the improvements they’d like to see. For those eligible, the city will provide a 50-percent matching grant to reimburse up to $20,000 worth of facade and signage improvements.

“What we want to do is work with business owners or property owners on any type of improvements that are going to be made to the exterior of the building, with the real goal of generating some additional foot traffic,” said Burke.

The money can be used for improvements such as exterior details, lighting, window replacement, and landscaping.

“We're targeting specific areas in the community. And what I mean is that we're targeting areas that are going to benefit the low to moderate-income population as defined by housing and urban development. One is La Doce of the S. 12th Avenue corridor. And then the other one is the thriving 05 area, which is essentially all of the 85705 zip code,” said Burke.

The grants preference will be for businesses that are not contractually required to keep a standardized design.

“What we really would like to see is for some businesses that have legal nonconforming signs, you know, older signs. We can help you bring new signs to the property that meet the current sign code, and, you know, will add a lot to the value, to the property, and to the business,” said Burke.