Sign & Façade Program
The City of Gardner, through its Department of Community Development and Planning (DCDP), administers a Commercial Rehabilitation Program funded by a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from the state's Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). The program provides technical and financial assistance to eligible property owners to renovate commercial buildings, and to commercial businesses to repair or replace existing signs, or erect new signs.
Sign projects are awarded a 0% interest, deferred payment loan. The loan is forgiven after 5 years provided title to the property remains unchanged and the owner observes all terms of the loan agreement. Loans cannot exceed $2,500.
Façade projects are eligible for a matching loan. The program finances 80% of approved project costs in the form of a 5-year deferred payment loan (DPL) at 0% interest. The loan is forgiven after 5 years, provided title to the property remains unchanged and the owner observes all terms of the loan agreement. If title to the property changes, or if the terms of the loan agreement are violated, the loan becomes immediately due. The maximum amount of assistance provided per project is $15,000.
Security for Grant Funds
Sign project installment loans are secured by a promissory note and a personal guarantee. Facade project deferred payment loans (DPLs) are secured by a promissory note and the filing of a mortgage lien with the Worcester Registry of Deeds.
Technical assistance includes:
- Advising applicants with design issues and compliance with zoning laws
- Preparing a scope of work and soliciting bids from contractors
- Providing contract documents and construction supervision
Property owners may be required to obtain professional architectural/engineering services in cases of extensive renovation. Because grant funds are used to finance part of the renovations, projects must comply with federal and state prevailing wage requirements and public bidding process.
The City of Gardner reserves the right, without further notice, to amend the program guidelines, establish priority or waiting lists, or suspend program operations or deny applications when deemed in the interest of the program and the City.
Please consult with grant staff prior to submitting an application.