The Historic Downtown Prosser Association’s Façade Improvement Grant Program received the “Visual Impact” award at Washington Main Street’s Excellence on Main Awards Ceremony on May 7 in Bellingham, Washington. The ceremony was held in conjunction with RevitalizeWA, Washington State’s Preservation and Main Street Conference.
In 2011, the Historic Downtown Prosser Association (HDPA), the community’s Main Street organization, implemented a 60-month trial for a façade improvement program. Using Main Street Tax Credit Incentive dollars, the program offered an interest-free loan of $5,000. Its purpose was to provide HDPA members with incentives for business and/or property owners to restore building facades. After garnering very little interest, the HDPA decided to change its loan program to a grant.
The program requires that renovations must integrate with the historic quality of the downtown core, and design guidelines were implemented to stipulate what projects are appropriate. Typical projects that meet criteria include exterior building remodeling and improvements such as masonry repairs; window and door replacement; awnings, paint, and trim; ornamental rails, signage, hardscape, landscaping, and historic designation. The HDPA Design Committee reviews the application, executes site visits, and recommends changes to improve the historic quality of the work. A total of eight grants have been awarded since the program started, and this $48,000 has triggered over $1.8 million in total revitalization efforts.
“This façade grant program has allowed the Historic Downtown Prosser Association to make a tangible investment within the downtown, resulting in an incredible amount of both public and private investment,” said Sarah Hansen, Washington State Main Street Coordinator. “Prosser has proved that façade improvement programs can have a dramatic impact on the economic health of downtown.”
The Excellence on Main Awards, organized by the Washington State Main Street Program, recognizes communities, organizations, and individuals who are helping to achieve economic vitality and build sustainable communities through downtown revitalization and preservation. Washington’s Main Street Program is housed in the
Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation and administered, under contract, by the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation.