These innovative county leaders hope to transform their commercial districts by combining revitalization tools and programs

One of the many challenges facing attempts to economically revitalize downtowns and commercial districts, such as facade renovation programs, is that available funding for any given program isn’t sufficient to make a transformative difference to the area, setting it on an upward trajectory.

Often, there are a number of funding and financing sources available, but they are locked in silos, requiring business owners to expend times both finding them and applying for each separately.

Local leaders who want to make a real difference can often do so simply by integrating isolated programs that have similar goals.

That’s what happened on February 7, 2023 in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, when County Executive Steuart Pittman and Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation (AAEDC) Interim CEO Jill Seamon announced a new initiative to complement the Arundel Community Reinvestment (ACR) loan program.

Those who apply and are approved for an ACR loan for up to $100,000 can now receive a grant equal to 25 percent of the loan amount for facade improvements.

The grant is a great addition to our revitalization toolbox which currently includes the ACR program, the county’s revitalization tax credit and a complimentary ‘architect-on-call’ service,” said Seamon.

All together these resources can help renew economic vibrancy and mitigate blight in our mature commercial districts,” she continued.

The tandem grant initiative is supported by $544,350 in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding and grants are limited to $25,000.

The Arundel Community Reinvestment Fund offers loans up to $100,000 to be repaid over three to seven years at zero percent interest.

Eligible improvements include renovation and upgrades to building exteriors and site improvements, including landscaping, and loans are limited to 90% of total project costs.

Small businesses and commercial property owners located in our older commercial corridors were impacted by the pandemic and had less resources to maintain their storefronts,” said Pittman.

This grant initiative not only helps support those businesses but it supports the beautification of our communities as a whole,” he said.

The ACR is designed to spur economic activity and improvement in Anne Arundel County’s eleven Commercial Revitalization Districts, in the area at inner West Street in Annapolis from Church Circle to Chinquapin Round Road, and in the county’s one state-designated Enterprise Zone, in Brooklyn Park.

Photo of Annapolis via Adobe Stock.

See maps of the county’s revitalization areas.

See the Arundel Community Reinvestment Fund page.

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