The City of Wheeling’s Façade Improvement Program (FIP) is expanding once again to include EMO zoning districts. Applications for the program are accepted on a quarterly basis with an upcoming deadline of Feb. 14.
Director of Economic and Community Development Nancy Prager said opening the FIP to EMO zoning districts was the next natural step for the program.
“When the Façade Improvement Program was implemented about six years ago, the focus was the City’s Central Business District. In April of 2021, the program expanded to include privately-owned commercial buildings within the C-1 and C-2 zoning distracts as well as any property, residential or commercial, in a qualified historic district in the City that has approved Design Review. Adding the EMO zoning districts just makes sense,” she said.
Regulations, the application, instructions on how to apply and zoning maps are available at www.wheelingwv.gov/facade.
Prager explained 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. To date, City Council has awarded more than $700,000 in FIP grants. Nearly $2 million 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.
In addition to the Feb. 14 deadline, the upcoming 2023 deadlines are May 16, Aug. 15, Nov. 14.