Plan also includes Marketing Assistance Program
After the successful Spring 2019 launch of Fairfield’s Facade Improvement & Marketing Assistance Program (FIMAP) to enhance the economic vitality and character of the town’s commercial districts, the grant program enters the 2020 grant cycle with new funding available for Fairfield-based businesses and entrepreneurs. Operated by the Fairfield Economic and Community Development Committee (FECDC), FIMAP allocates financial incentives for the renovation, restoration, and preservation of privately-owned business exteriors within the Town of Fairfield, as well as for marketing assistance to stimulate commerce.
Grants will reimburse up to 50 percent of the cost of facade improvement and marketing projects. In its inaugural year, FIMAP awarded grants to Belanger’s Drive-In, IBEW 1253, Meridians Kitchen & Bar, and Sunset Flowerland & Greenhouse. These awarded projects have significantly contributed to Fairfield’s aesthetics and commerce, and the Town intends to continue to leverage its historical and commercial assets with FIMAP’s second grant cycle.
“The sustained growth in facade improvement programs and place-based economic strategies are driving forces behind vibrant municipalities, incentivizing diversification, and creating sustainable local markets in the 21st century,” states Garvan D. Donegan, director of planning and economic development at Central Maine Growth Council (CMGC). “Particularly important within a COVID-19 context, the continued investment in the Town of Fairfield and its downtown is having a tangible impact on quality of place, which attracts investment, residents, and visitors, making FIMAP an important opportunity to realize the full potential of Fairfield’s commercial properties. These new layers of investment will assist in sustaining and propelling the town’s growth forward more quickly, with visible impact.”
The competitive application process offers two project tracks: facade improvement and marketing assistance. Within the façade improvement track, high-priority projects include, but are not limited to: preservation and restoration of original and/or historical facades; removal of “modern”, non-historic alterations or additions to original facades; repair or replacement of windows, doors, and trim; and the addition of signage or awnings. Within the marketing assistance track, eligible projects include, but are not limited to, branding, digital and/or print advertisement, and signage. Applicants must also provide a long-term marketing strategy.
Successful proposals will generate significant economic and community development impact. “Understanding the increased need to deploy capital into businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, the FECDC Advisory Committee will prioritize projects which strongly contribute to the revitalization of our business community, to the restoration of our historic resources, and to job creation and retention,” explains Michelle Flewelling, Town Manager of Fairfield. “The continued focus of this grant program will be to develop new partnerships, retain and expand existing operations, make Fairfield’s neighborhoods more inviting so that we encourage new businesses, residents, and visitors, and create direct economic benefits for the community as a whole.”
Eligible projects may apply for $3,000 to $25,000 in funding; FIMAP is funded by Fairfield Tax Increment Financing (TIF) revenues. Interested applicants may access a FIMAP application at http://www.fairfieldme.com/town/pages/business-resources or by contacting CMGC at 207-680-7300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Fairfield’s Economic and Community Development Advisory Committee:
The Economic and Community Development Advisory Committee is a “citizens” committee with open membership to all Fairfield residents, business owners, and educators who have a vested interest in community development. Meetings are open to the public, and the committee typically meets monthly at the Fairfield Community Center; go to Fairfield’s online calendar of events for a meeting schedule.
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