Facade Improvement Program

The City of Cottage Grove is excited to announce a competitive grant opportunity for façade improvements.  Eligible building  or business owners, may apply for grant assistance up to 50% of the cost of improvements – up to $25,000.
Apply Here: 


The City of Cottage Grove is looking to strengthen the vitality of the community by improving the overall appearance of our commercial district.  The purpose of the façade improvement program is to enhance our existing commercial buildings through financial assistance to property and business owners.  These improvements are meant to help beautify buildings, increase consumer awareness of businesses and sustain a healthy commercial building stock in Cottage Grove.

Who Can Apply?

Any business or property owner in a commercially zoned building within the City of Cottage Grove city limits.

Criteria for selection will be based on the following:

  • Location within the City of Cottage Grove (see priority project map ).
  • Ability to encourage improvements to surrounding businesses.
  • Ability to improve the appearance and attractiveness of an area.
  • Consistent with Cottage Grove Comprehensive Plan
  • Compliance with City Codes
  • Building owners who have not previously been awarded a grant will be considered before those who have already received grant funding.


Applications for the 2020 Façade Improvement Grant Program are due by April 6, 2020.  Projects submitted after April 6 will be considered if funding is available.

What will the matching grant dollars pay for?

Façade Improvement Grants can pay for a variety of exterior building façade improvements.   Grants are awarded for 50% of the costs of improvements for a maximum of $25,000.  The work must be visible from a public street.  The following improvements are eligible for grants:

  • Restoration of exterior finishes and materials
  • Masonry repairs and tuckpointing
  • Exterior painting or re-siding
  • Removal of architecturally inappropriate or incompatible exterior finishes and materials
  • Repair or replacement of windows and doors (replacement must be architecturally appropriate)
  • Canopy or awning installation or repair
  • Repair or replacement of exterior wall or monument signs
  • Removal of barriers to building access for pedestrians and people with disabilities (ADA compliance)
  • Exterior building or accent lighting (parking lot lighting ineligible)
  • Landscaping work done as part of a larger project (up to 25% of total project cost eligible)

What will the matching grant dollars NOT pay for?

  • Improvements already in progress or completed prior to approval
  • Routine maintenance that is not part of an eligible façade improvement project
  • Improvements to a building interior
  • Improvements to non-commercial zoned buildings
  • Roofing
  • HVAC systems, building mechanicals, or security systems
  • Fencing (excludes decorative fencing as part of the landscaping improvement)
  • Parking areas
  • Sidewalks (excludes bringing sidewalks in to ADA compliance)
  • Billboards, roof, pylon, off-premise or temporary signs
  • Dynamic display or electronic message signs
  • Purchase or rental of tools and equipment, or for labor performed by the building or business owner, family members, employees, or any other person with a financial interest in the property or business.  Grant funds may be used to pay for materials.
  • Permits
  • Any other improvement not deemed eligible on the above list.

How to Apply?

Please visit https://docs.cottagegrovemn.gov/Forms/facadeimprovementprogram and complete the Façade Improvement Application.

You will be required to supply the following documents in addition to the application:

  • Photos of the current façade
  • Proposed project description, detailing the entire scope of improvements you would like to undertake on the building
  • Evidence supporting your ability to cover 50% of project costs (i.e. bank statement, loan approval letter)
  • Itemized budget of project.
  • Estimates supplied by a City of Cottage Grove licensed contractor
  • If you do not own the building a letter of support from the building owner with their contact information.

Disbursement Process

Applications will be reviewed internally before being brought before the City of Cottage Grove EDA for approval.  If approved a letter of approval will be given to the applicant letting them know they may begin work on the project.  Grant funds will not be disbursed until after all proposed work in the project description is completed.  At that time, you will be required to submit copies of all receipts/invoices detailed in the project budget and photos of the completed work.  After those items are completed and found to match the application your grant funds will be awarded.

If you have any questions on how to apply or what work qualifies for the program, please contact Matt Wolf at 651-458-2833 or mwolf@cottagegrovemn.gov.

2019 Facade Improvement Program Receipent:
Facade 2 Before-After