Façade Improvement Program


The Façade Improvement Program for the Mt. Sterling Uptown Business District is designed to stimulate downtown investment, maintain and expand the economic contribution of the Uptown district, preserve the historical character of Uptown buildings, and initiate aesthetic improvements.

The program provides financial incentives and design assistance to property and business owners to be matched by their equal or greater investment of private funds for the purpose of restoring/renovating commercial storefronts and replacing deteriorated or poor quality commercial signs and awnings.

Program Objectives

  • Encourage private investment in the visual improvement of storefronts, signs, and awnings
  • Enhance the appearance of the streetscape
  • Reduce vacancies in storefronts and upper floors
  • Expand worker and shopper population in the Uptown District
  • Strengthen or restore the original character of historic buildings
  • Provide a catalyst for others to improve their buildings

Eligibility Requirements

  • Be located within program boundaries as shown in red on the diagram below. Facades facing Main and Capitol Streets will be given priority for approval.
  • Buildings outside of the program boundaries will be considered if all of the following conditions exist:
    • Business is a retail establishment located within one block of the geographic boundaries,
    • Business is visible from Main Street, and
    • Business is in keeping with the values of the Tracy Family Foundation, funder of the Façade Improvement Grant Program.
  • If the applicant is not the owner of the building, written consent detailing the intended improvements must be obtained from the legal owner and submitted with the application.
  • For sign and awning projects, tenant must have at least five years remaining in lease at location of proposed project and/or option to renew for at least five years.
  • Building projects must be designed by a qualified design professional and signs must be produced by a professional sign maker.
  • The project applicant must owe no outstanding property taxes, fees, judgments, or liens to the City of Mt. Sterling and have no outstanding code violations.
  • All work performed on the recipient’s building must comply with Mt. Sterling ordinances, codes, and regulations. It is the sole responsibility of the recipient to obtain any and all zoning clearances, variances, permits, and approvals before work commences.
  • Projects must comply with the Development and Design Guidelines in the Mt. Sterling, Illinois Uptown Long-Range Strategic Plan and Redevelopment Blueprint dated November 1, 2011 and the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Rehabilitation of Historic Buildings (Appendix E).

Program Boundaries

For additional information about incentives and the application process, download the Façade Improvement Program Guide and Application