Six Corners Association offers rebates on facade improvements





by BRIAN NADIG

The Six Corners Association is launching three rebate programs aimed at giving incentives to business owners to make facade improvements, establish outdoor dining patios and install security cameras on the outside of their buildings.

The ultimate goal is to create more curb appeal along the public way, making the area more attractive to shoppers, said association executive director Kelli Wefenstette.

"We are focusing on a lot on economic vitality for 2018. This has been in the works for a couple of years," she said.

The programs were designed on feedback that the association received through its surveys and interviews with merchants, Wefenstette said. The association has offered some rebate programs in the past, but offered none for at least 5 years.

Eligible businesses must be located within the boundaries of the Six Corners Special Service Area, which covers an approximate two-block radius around the intersection of Milwaukee Avenue, Cicero Avenue and Irving Park Road. The Six Corners Special Service Area Commission, which sets an annual levy, is a taxing body whose revenues are managed by the association.

One of the programs grants rebates of up to 50 percent for the cost of exterior enhancements to a building in the service area. The maximum rebate for a project is $5,000 for a business, or up to $15,000 for a building where renovations include three or more storefronts.

Eligible improvements include new signage, window and door replacement, tuckpointing and new awnings. Roofing improvements and any enhancement to the rear or side of a building that is not visible from the public way are not eligible.

The facade rebate program is separate from the city’s Small Business Improvement Fund, which is intended for larger projects than those covered by the group’ program, Wefenstette said.

Under the SBIF program, businesses located within the Portage Park or Irving/Cicero tax increment financing districts can apply for a grant of up to $100,000.

The association also is offering grants to businesses which install outdoor security cameras, covering 50 percent of the expenses with a maximum reimbursement of $1,000. At least one of the cameras must capture the public right-of-way.

Restaurants also can seek a rebate of up to $600 to cover the cost of a sidewalk cafe permit. Currently there are three sidewalk cafes in the heart of the shopping district, but the association is hoping that the rebate will encourage others to open, Wefenstette said.

The service area at Six Corners was established in 2005.

Applications for each of the rebate programs are available at www.sixcorners.com.