Columbia Facade Grant 2020


Town Square

Tennessee Main Street & Tennessee Downtowns Community Development Block Grant - Facade Improvement Grant Program

UPDATE: A webinar hosted April 21, 2020 has been posted online, available at

See Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) now at

The Columbia downtown district is the economic and social hub of the city consisting of vibrant retail establishments, restaurants, government & professional offices, and residential units. During the last several years, the Columbia downtown has experienced a renaissance of sorts – a resurgence of economic activity - with the opening of numerous popular restaurants and retail businesses along with newly organized public events that draw the community and visitors to downtown. 

The City of Columbia has implemented major streetscape improvements throughout the downtown district.  These and other infrastructure improvements have significantly improved the appearance of downtown Columbia. Visually appealing store fronts are vital to the economic development and livelihoods of any downtown.  Unfortunately, many downtown property owners and tenants simply do not have the resources needed to undertake the needed improvements. A recent study in Philadelphia examined a Facade Grant programs’ economic impact and found that the majority of participants receiving grant funds concentrated on signage, awnings, or lighting. Grant recipients making improvements reported sales increased by 44%, compared to those who did not participate and saw only a 19% increase. 

Eligible Improvements:

This grant only applies to work done on the front facade of the building. Building sides excluding rear sides that sit on and face a street are eligible. No more than 50% of the improvements to the back or side of the building visible from the street.

Examples of eligible improvements for Facade Grant funding include:

 Repainting of a facade if already painted; we do not encourage painting historic brick that hasn't been previously painted.
 Awnings (New or Replacement)
 Removal of vinyl or aluminum siding
 Brick Repairs (Tuck-Pointing mortar)
 Windows & Doors (Within the historic design guidelines)
 Safety improvements
 Sign and exterior lighting on the building
 Improving visible back and side entrances
Please note all color, materials, and design choices will be approved by a selection committee then go
before the Columbia Historic Zoning Commission for final approval.

Examples of unapproved improvements:
 Do not harm the building; respect the historic character of the building and the district
 No roof repairs.
 No sidewalks or parking spaces.
 No interior improvements.
 No murals

Eligible Applicants:

Building must be located within the Downtown Columbia Commercial Historic District in the map on Page 3. Tenants are eligible for grant funds by including a letter of approval for proposed improvements from building owner with the application.

Downtown Commercial District Map

Important Information & Dates

A Facade Grant Orientation will be held on April 21, 2020 at 4:30 p.m. via an online workshop to discuss the grant and application process. The grant administrator, Sarah Elizabeth McLeod of the South Central Tennessee Development District, will be conducting the online workshop and be able to answer questions. 

All documentation is required to be submitted by June 19,2020 at 4:00 p.m. to Austin Bass- Development Services - Columbia City Hall either via email or manila envelope. 

No work is to begin until after the Pre-Construction Meeting. Any work started prior to the award notification will not be eligible for this grant. 

Applications will then be reviewed and scored by the Selection Committee. Once they have been reviewed and scored they will go before the Historic Zoning Commission on August 13, 2020 at 4:00 p.m.

Notification of Award will occur the week of August 17, 2020 via email. Please make sure to have an updated email on your application.

Pre-Construction Meetings with Business Owners and Contractors will be held September 1st at 4:30 p.m. at City Hall.


This project is funded under a grant contract with the State of Tennessee.