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Downtown Façade Renovation Program

The Watertown downtown revitalization initiative is providing funds for Façade Renovation to businesses that meet the required criteria.

Also check out our Rent Assistance Program!


To improve the look & viability of Downtown Watertown. To invest in improvements which create a pedestrian friendly environment as well as remove current blight conditions with facades repairs which contribute to the historic fabric of our City center.


  • 75% of approved facade renovation costs
  • Up to $25,000 max grant funds per façade

Project scoring will be based on the following:


Proof of ownership and documentation of owner’s 25% contribution are required.

Physical Impact

Completed project will result in a highly visible transformation of prominent buildings in the DRI target area.

Building's Functional Use

Focus will be on buildings currently in use or buildings where plans are underway for restoration.

What you need to know:

It is proposed that façade units be funded by 75% grant and 25% cash equity. Maximum grant amount per unit will be $25,000. WLDC Board of Directors reserves the right to consider higher amounts based on project impact. Project impact will be determined based on location and size of building. Buildings located within the central business district having more than one store front and are in need of repair, may be considered high impact projects. Façade units that result in highly visible transformation within the DRI boundary will be given higher priority.

Final awards will be determined by the WLDC DRI Committee and Board of Directors. All participants will be required to provide a maximum of 25% of the project cost. The match may be in the form of cash or alternative funding source. In-kind labor is not an eligible match.

WLDC will require that the 25% owner equity is first into the project. This will include any soft costs including associated architectural or environmental fees. The project Administrator/Consultant will monitor and certify to WLDC that 25% has been injected into the project. WLDC will then fund remaining 75% of project cost. Progress payments will be made to the contractors once project Administrator/Consultant has signed off on work completed and submitted to WLDC.

All assistance will be in the form of a reimbursable grant with a 5-year compliance period. Should the property owner sell the building within the 5-year timeframe they will be responsible for repaying a portion of the grant funding received. A declaration form will be filed with the Jefferson County Clerk to secure this obligation and the following repayment schedule will apply:

  • Months 0-12 -100% Repayment Due

  • Months 13-24 – 80% Repayment Due

  • Months 25-36 – 60% Repayment Due

  • Months 37-48 – 40% Repayment Due

  • Months 49-60 – 20% Repayment Due

  • Months 60-Beyond – 0% Repayment Due

Interested in Façade Renovation?

If you are interested in our Façade Renovation program, you can apply online, or contact us if you would like more information.

Contact Us

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New York State Homes & Community Renewal