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Façade Improvement Program

The Façade Improvement Program is an initiative of the Folsom Redevelopment Agency to enhance the attractiveness and economic vitality of Folsom’s Historic District. The program offers grants to property owners in return for agreement to provide high quality and well-maintained improvements. Potential projects are evaluated for their benefits to the community. Project approval is at the Agency’s sole discretion.

Program Goals:

·         Assist in the removal of blighting influences in Folsom’s original 98 block Historic District.

·         Enhance the attractiveness of the commercial environment in the Historic District.

·      Encourage private investment in the Historic District.

·         Promote commercial vitality and increase economic activity in the Historic District.


Program Objectives:

·         Encourage improvements at properties that are creating a negative influence on surrounding community.

·         Assist in the maintenance of the historic character of certain commercial areas.

·         Assure high quality design and construction.

·         Assure that commercial buildings are properly maintained.


Program Eligibility:

Although no property is assured assistance, all existing, legal, locally owned businesses within a Redevelopment Project Area (see attached map) are eligible for this program.


The following types of businesses/properties are not eligible for assistance through this program:


1. Businesses located outside the original 98 block Historic District.


2. New Construction - This program is being offered as assistance for existing small business/property owners. The goal is to update and improve the facades and signage on existing buildings.


3. Properties/businesses operated by chain stores or franchises - It is the intent of this program to assist small businesses and property owners who would not otherwise have access to resources such as financing or design assistance.


4. Improperly licensed or illegal, non-conforming businesses/properties – The Agency may provide financial assistance only to business/properties which have received applicable business license permits and/or are legally operating from an existing building.


Eligible businesses/property owners are encouraged to apply immediately for consideration.

Submittal of an application by an eligible business/property owner does not guarantee participation by the Agency. All proposed projects will be evaluated on their merits.


If a tenant business is requesting assistance, the legal property owner of the building must agree to participation by the business owner. All tenant businesses must also have a current business license issued by the City of Folsom to be eligible for program assistance.


All façade improvement and/or new signs must meet the goals and objectives of the document and be approved by the Historic District Commission.


Eligible Improvements:

Improvements may consist of sign renovation or replacement, wall repairs and repainting, window replacement or modification, door replacement or modification, planter box installation, landscaping, handicap accessibility modifications, added ornamental/decorative architectural features, exterior lighting, awnings, and other improvements which will increase the attractiveness of the building. Professional services related to the façade improvements and city permit fees are eligible expenses.


Interior improvements are not eligible for this program. However, the Agency has a Small Business Loan Program that could be used concurrently with the Façade Improvement Program to finance interior improvements.


Grant Amounts and Conditions:

The Agency may provide a grant not to exceed $10,000 to eligible businesses. The grant can cover up to 80% of the total cost of eligible improvements. To receive assistance a property/business owner must sign an agreement with the Agency committing to construct the project within one year, maintain high construction standards, properly maintain the improvements for five years, and adhere to City regulations.


Program Process:


Step 1:      The owner receives Historic District Commission approval of proposed façade improvements.



Step 2:      The owner submits an application describing the proposed improvements.


Step 3:      Agency staff evaluates eligibility and reviews the merits of the project. The project is evaluated based on the Evaluation Criteria listed below. If Agency staff determines that the project is eligible and provides sufficient benefit to the community, preliminary approval is issued.


Step 4:      The owner provides Agency staff with detailed plans and a minimum of two licensed contractor bids for construction.


Step 5:      The Redevelopment Citizens Advisory Committee approves the proposal.


Step 6:      The owner and Agency Executive Director sign an agreement in which the owner agrees to construct project within one year, maintain high construction standards, maintain the improvements for five years, and adhere to City regulations. In return, the Agency agrees to reimburse up to 80% of the project cost, with the Agency’s share not to exceed $10,000.


Step 7:      The owner hires a licensed construction firm and completes project work.


Step 8:      The owner and Agency staff conduct final inspection and certify project as complete prior to reimbursing the owner for the Agency’s share of the project.


Evaluation Criteria:

The following factors will be considered in evaluating each application for Agency assistance:


a. Removal of blighted conditions.

b. Support for prior or proposed public and/or private investment.

c. Maintenance or resuscitation of historic character.

d. Enhancement of the pedestrian environment.

e. Renovation of prominent location.

f. Consistency with Historic District Design and Development Guidelines.

g. Improvements which will lead to occupancy of existing vacant buildings.

h. Improvements that facilitate retention and growth of existing businesses and expansion of economic activity.


For a Façade Improvement Program Application click here.

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