Property Improvement Grant Program

The Village has adopted a property improvement grant program (the “Program”) to assist property owners and tenants in funding improvements to the existing buildings located within the downtown Tax Increment Finance (TIF) Districts (see below). 

TIF Districts Map

Both TIF Districts were established as a “pay-as-you-go” funded districts. This  means that incremental tax revenues will be used to pay for Village-approved eligible TIF project costs or TIF economic incentives as such funds are generated through year-to-year increases in the equalized assessed valuation (“EAV”) of the properties within the TIF District, and no bond or other debt financing was issued to pay for eligible TIF project costs or TIF economic incentives. 

How is the Program proposed to be funded?

Only TIF funds will be used for the program. Eligible units and properties that may participate in the Program are those non-residential units and properties located within the TIF Districts. Please click here [LINK] to determine if a property is located within a TIF District. As the amount of TIF funds available for use under the Program may change over time, the Village Board will establish the annual maximum program dollar amount on a yearly basis during the budget process.  For the initial year of 2024 a maximum program budget of $70,000 has been proposed. 

Applicants to the Property Improvement Grant Program (the “Program”) are required to submit an application for the work to be reviewed by the Village staff for compliance with the standards of the program. The applicant would be notified if their project is eligible and if adequate TIF funds are available. The applicant would then file a building permit application. After the permit is issued, the work is completed, and all inspections are passed, the applicant would submit documentation to be reimbursed for the approved grant amount. 

Applications will be reviewed in the order received and the amount of available TIF funding will determine the number of qualified applications that can be selected in a given calendar year. All work and reimbursement must occur in the same calendar year that the application is submitted.

What standards will an application have to meet to be selected?

The purpose of the program is to retain existing businesses and attract high quality development that is consistent with goals and recommendations of the Downtown Redevelopment Plan [LINK] and the Comprehensive Land Use Plan [LINK]. The Downtown Redevelopment Plan has several clear recommendations for improvements / redevelopments within the downtown. The recommendations in the plan range from building height and massing, to building lighting, to sidewalk cafés. 

Additionally, the business has to be in good standing with the Village and hold a current business license (if applicable), a liquor license (if applicable), have no outstanding water bills or other Village fees, and comply with all Village Codes. The business, property, or unit may not have any outstanding code violations or unrelated open permits. The unit/ building may also be required to have a valid certificate of occupancy at the time the application is filed.

What projects / work are proposed be eligible under the Program?

Per the State TIF Act [LINK], only certain types of projects are eligible to receive TIF funds under the Program. Based on these restrictions, the following seven categories are eligible for participation in the Program:

  • Exterior Facades: Includes work such as windows, doors, tuckpointing, roofs, and similar work.
  • Signage: The Downtown Redevelopment Plan recommends awning and wall signage. Window and other signage types are not eligible for the Program.
  • Sidewalk Cafés: Bollards, jersey barriers, decorative pergolas, and other components to facilitate outdoor dining.
  • Exterior Hardscape: Private walkways, ramps, and other similar structures.
  • Improvements to comply with the Illinois Americans with Disability Act (ADA): Projects to improve access to the unit or building to ensure that they are compliant with the State ADA requirements. This would also include projects that would modify the interior of the building to comply with the ADA requirements. 
  • Fire suppression and alarm: Includes the cost to upgrade utilities to facilitate the installation of these systems.
  • Green Improvements: Includes LEED or other sustainability upgrades to increase the efficiency of the building’s envelope.

It is recommended that a pre-application meeting be requested to allow for Community Development staff to discuss the proposed project's eligibility prior to the submittal of an application. Please contact Heather Valone at hvalone@wsprings.com or (708) 246-1800 ext. 169 to schedule a pre-application meeting.

How much funding is being proposed for eligible projects/ work?

Based on the longevity of the improvement, permit history, and input received during the program development, Table 1 contains the following maximum grant allocations by project type and land use: 

Funding Table Final

Eligible projects that are not specific to a single user have higher maximum funding caps. Those that are specific to a single user have lower maximums. Uses that generate sales tax have higher maximums as they return the value of the improvement in more than increased assessment value. The applicant is required to pay a contractor to complete the project and then seek reimbursement of 50% or the maximum reimbursement - whichever is less per Table 1 of the TIF-eligible redevelopment project costs from the Village. 

Once the project is completed and approved, as verified by the Village, the applicant will submit a reimbursement request to receive the 50% share or maximum reimbursement, whichever is less per Table 1 of the actual, incurred TIF-eligible redevelopment project costs payable to the applicant. The applicant is responsible for paying at least 50% of such redevelopment project costs per the required funding match. These items will be reviewed by the Economic Development Commission and a recommendation based on their discussion will be made to the Village Board. This table may be subject to change based on the Economic Development Commission’s recommendation.

As an example, if an applicant for a non-sales tax generating property applied for funds to tuckpoint a building and the overall cost was $14,000 they could get a maximum grant award of $7,000. If an applicant with a sales tax generating business applied for a wall sign and the overall cost was $5,000, the maximum grant award they could receive is $2,000. Alternatively, if an applicant with a sales tax generating business applied for a fabric awning sign and the overall cost was $3,000 the maximum grant award they could receive is $1,500 as they are required to have a 50% match to the awarded funds.

How would applications be processed?

To encourage all types of applications, there is a tiered threshold for approval based on the requested grant amount. For projects requesting $5,000 or less, the Director of Community Development will review the application and take final action on the award of the funding. Project applications requesting more than $5,000 would be initially reviewed by Village staff, presented to the EDC for its recommendation, and the Village Board will take final action on these larger applications. 

Applicants may apply for multiple categories of project types under a single application; however, the combined maximum of the request and grant award cannot exceed $10,000 in one calendar year. 

How to submit an application

The application form can be completed online. Please click here [LINK] to access the application form. If you require assistance completing the application or would like to request a paper application, please contact Heather Valone at hvalone@wsprings.com or (708) 246-1800 ext. 169.