DDA Property Improvement Programs

The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is the governmental entity responsible for encouraging private development and promoting and coordinating public development in the downtown district. These reimbursable property improvement programs are designed to:


  • Incentivize investment in private property to improve the economic vitality and marketability of commercial space in the district
  • Attract retailers that provide services or products to address the demand of residents, employees, and visitors
  • Improve the pedestrian experience
  • Reduce the number of vacant storefronts throughout the district

Storefront Awning Program

The Storefront Awning Program encourages awnings to enhance the pedestrian experience downtown and to start to create a more cohesive retail district. Downtown storefronts benefit from having clear glass so that passersby can see inside and window shop. Awnings on the storefront are sometimes necessary for sun control on the inside.

  • This is a reimbursable grant that covers up to 50% of the cost of awnings, not to exceed $2,500.
  • The 2021 program targets the Jefferson Street corridor, Vermilion Street and Lee Avenue.
  • We’ve installed black canvas awnings in the past, but we give preference to historically accurate awnings for historic buildings, and so it might make more sense to apply for the Facade Rehabilitation Program in these cases.
  • The funds for the Storefront Awning Program are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

2021 Storefront Awning Program Application

Blade Sign Program

The Blade Sign Program encourages tenants of any kind in the district to install blade signs that face perpendicular to the flow of traffic. Blade signs are smaller, projecting signs, usually mounted to a wall or hung from an awning and are effective visual cues oriented to pedestrians.

  • This is a reimbursable grant that covers up to 90% of the cost of blade signs, not to exceed $2,000.
  • The funds for the Blade Sign Program are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

2021 Blade Sign Program Application

Retail Tenant Improvement Program

The Retail Tenant Improvement Program helps to grow downtown’s retail economy by providing certain funds to eligible retail business owners to defray a portion of the costs incurred in starting new and expanding existing businesses.

  • This is a reimbursable grant that covers up to 50% of eligible costs associated with interior build-outs, not to exceed $3,000 for spaces under 1,500 square feet or $5,000 for those 1,500 square feet or more.
  • Work like plumbing, electrical, painting, and attached fixtures like cabinets (and more) are eligible for reimbursement.
  • Businesses like apparel, shoes, home furnishings, pharmacies, bookstores, jewelry stores (and more) are all eligible for the program.
  • There are four application windows a year; applications are due at the end of each quarter.

2021 Retail Tenant Improvement Program Application

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