The deadline for the City of Wheeling’s Façade Improvement Program (FIP) is quickly approaching as applications are due to the office of Economic and Community Development by Monday, Feb. 14.

Director of Economic and Community Development Nancy Prager said the purpose of the FIP is to support the revitalization of the City by stimulating private investment in high-quality improvements that enhance the appearance of buildings and properties and eliminate blight and non-conforming design standards. To date, City Council has awarded nearly $200,000 in FIP grants. Nearly $1million of private investment related to the façade improvement projects has been made within the City.

“The Façade Improvement Program can provide up to $15,000 based on the project cost. Eligible upgrades to the primary façade include exterior building improvements, signage and roof repairs or replacements,” she said.

Prager further explained that applications are reviewed by a five-person committee which then makes recommendations to City Council’s Development Committee. The Development Committee then makes a recommendation to City Council as a whole. Council approves the projects selected for the FIP. The five-person committee considers the following information when reviewing an application and making their recommendation to City Council: historical/architectural significance of the property; number of times the building has been previously funded by program; number of times the owner has been previously funded by program; existing conditions/occupancy status; overall consistency with the purpose of the program; evaluation of relative visual public benefit or impact to the streetscape; proposed work to the property; and level of investment.

After implementing a successful Façade Improvement Program (FIP) for the City’s Central Business District nearly five years ago, City Council voted in April 2021 to expand the program to other areas of the City. The program expansion allows the inclusion of privately owned commercial buildings within the C-1 and C-2 zoning distracts and the Central Business District as well as any property, residential or commercial, in a qualified historic district in the City that has approved Design Review.

Regulations, the application, instructions on how to submit an application and zoning maps are available at www.wheelingwv.gov/facade. Prager noted that applications are accepted quarterly. The upcoming 2022 deadlines beyond next week are May 16, Aug. 15, Nov. 14.

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