Mission Business Improvement Grant Program changes suggested; $370,000 awarded since 2004

One of the downtown facades redone in 2013.
One of the downtown facades redone in 2013.

The Mission Business Improvement Grant (BIG) Program has awarded more than $370,000 to benefit more than 60 local businesses since its inception in 2004. Some changes are coming to the popular program for 2016.

City staff is suggesting a number of changes, among them is a scoring system for grant applications and the appointment of a committee to review the applications. The grant can reimburse a business up to 50 percent of the cost of a project with a cap of $10,000. The city has budgeted $27,000 for the program in 2016.

Funds from a grant can only be used for qualifying exterior improvements or energy efficiency improvements. A proposed change to the program would allow the eligible projects to include ADA compliance work.

The initial grant application period this year runs from June 1 to June 30. Applications will be scored according to the criteria. If not all of the grant funding is used, a second application period will be opened.

Projects, according to the proposal, cannot be started before the grant approval and they must be substantially complete within three months of the approval.

The scoring system would give extra weight to items such as facade improvements, professional design, removing a non-conforming feature, improvements for non-motorists and mixed use projects.