Workshop set for Commercial Building Improvement Grant Program

The word is circulating, applications are going out for Commercial Building Improvement Grant Program – intended for business owner who want to spruce up the exterior of commercial spaces. 

The Immokalee Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) won approval of the program tthree months ago and is now accepting applications and encouraging business owners to take advantage of it. 

The CRA will hold an informational workshop for all interested commercial building owners on September 15, at approximately 10 a.m., following the conclusion of the monthly CRA Citizens Advisory Committee meeting. Both public sessions will take place, as usual, at the Careersource Southwest Florida offices (the One-Stop Shop), 750 South Fifth Avenue. 

All improvements must meet the criteria listed below as well as the current requirements of the land development code, building code and any applicable zoning overlays.

Improvements that remedy existing code enforcement violations also qualify if combined with other site improvement. 

The CRA is funded by Tax Increment Financing (TIF), a capture of Collier County’s property taxes above the year 2000 property tax value. TIF is a unique tool which CRAs can use to leverage public funds and promote private sector growth. 

The CRA staff will be happy to meet with any business owners to discuss further the opportunities and responsibilities of the program.

Criteria for the Sweat Equity program includes: 

  • The Grant is for commercial for-profit business structures that: 1) pay into the CRA tax increment, and 2) which are operating with a valid occupational license within the Immokalee 
  • Community Redevelopment Area, as established by Collier County Ordinance No. 2000-42.
  • The CRA will reimburse 50% of the cost of materials only for external improvements to existing structures, buildings and surrounding property.   
  • Grants will be paid out on a reimbursement basis upon verification by CRA staff that the items identified on material receipts have been used on the property for the purposes outlined on the application.
  • The minimum grant amount under this program shall be $250.00 (minimum $500.00 total material cost).
  • The maximum grant amount under this program shall be $2000.00 (minimum total material cost $4000.00).
  • No monetary value will be placed on the applicants sweat equity. Funds may not be used to cover the cost of labor or personal effort.
  • Funds may not be used to cover any permitting, design and/or inspection fees. 
  • Applicant must perform at least two exterior improvements that have been accepted by the CRA Advisory Board. Examples include windows & door, stucco, paint, landscaping & irrigation, awnings shutters and other exterior improments. 
  • Grant applications will be considered on a first-come first-served basis by CRA staff.
  • Grants applications shall be awarded by the CRA Governing Board upon recommendation by 1) CRA staff, and 2) the CRA Local Advisory Board. 
  • Grants will be considered for award by CRA staff based on funding availability.In order to spread the impact of the program throughout the community, there will be a one-year waiting period between grant awards for each individual property.   
  • All proposed work must be approved via written CRA notice-to-proceed before beginning any work.  
  • Grant funding is not retroactive. Receipts that are dated before application approval date will not be a recognized expenditure. 
  • Applicants are required to request a meeting with CRA staff prior to submittal of application.

Please call the Immokalee CRA office for more information. Questions can be directed in Spanish to Christie Betancourt, 239-867-0025; in Creole to James Sainvilus, 239-867-0026; or in English to Bradley Muckel, 239-867-0027.

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