City of Toledo launches Vibrancy Initiative to promote neighborhood growth & development
City officials say the program is in the early stages, but could positively impact residents directly.
TOLEDO, Ohio — Throughout the city of Toledo, there is no shortage of vacant properties, which is why the city has launched the Vibrancy Initiative, which aims to improve Toledo’s vitality by providing investments in the improvement of commercial buildings that promote further investment and job creation.
The Vibrancy Initiative will include two main components: the Façade Improvement Grant and the First Floor Whitebox Pilot. The introduction of these programs will create job-ready spaces where entrepreneurs can occupy revitalized buildings, and strengthen neighborhoods as more goods and services are available nearby. Additionally, it will preserve structures and reduce blight as boarded-up buildings are repaired and reopened.
“Last week, I announced the Toledo Recovery Plan. It has millions of dollars dedicated to parks and playground investment, lead water line replacement, planting of trees, new street lights and investments in clean and healthy homes,” said Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz. “The dollars dedicated to the Vibrancy Initiative will round out these neighborhood investments that residents want and need,” he said.
The Box Grant Pilot will:
- Help property owners bring vacant commercial first-floor spaces up to current building code, fire safety code, and Americans with Disabilities Act Requirements.
- Create a functional “white box” space ready for customization and occupancy by a business.
- Provide a matching grant of up to $50,000 for first-floor, interior renovation expenses. Building owners are required to provide a 30% match, and must either occupy the space as a business owner or actively market the space for lease.
- Currently, buildings on Broadway Avenue are eligible to participate in the pilot, however, the city intends with additional ARPA funding, to extend the program to all low-to-moderate income areas of Toledo and increase funding limits to $75,000.
Façade Improvement Grant
- Designed to address the exterior condition and appearance of commercial and industrial buildings, which directly impacts the vibrancy and stability of the surrounding area.
- Will help property owners transform the façade of commercial and industrial buildings located in low- to moderate-income census tracts throughout the city.
- The Facade Improvement Grant program provides a 50% matching grant of up to $40,000 reimburse eligible expenses.
These programs, along with the Community Reinvestment Area tax abatement program, which abates a portion of property taxes on qualified improvements, will be valuable tools to bring vibrancy to neighborhood commercial corridors, the city says.
To learn more, visit toledo.oh.gov/vibrancy.