Facade Improvement Grant Program

The City of Cañon City, through the Cañon City Facade Improvement Grant Program, may provide a reimbursement grant of up to 50% of the costs of a qualifying project in an amount up to $2,000 per business per year. The purpose of the program is for eligible property owners and tenants to upgrade the appearance of existing storefronts/building facades or primary public entrances in order to help create a positive commercial environment in Cañon City, Colorado. 

The Cañon City Facade Improvement Grant Program is a reimbursement grant program that is administered on a first-come, first-served basis and is subject to annual City funding. In order for a project to qualify for reimbursement, the project must receive grant approval from the City prior to beginning construction. Approved grant recipients will be required to provide paid invoices of the completed project, which shall be subject to verification and approval, prior to receiving reimbursement funds. The program does not reimburse sales tax or City permit and application fees. 

The intent of the grant program is to assist small businesses with improving and upgrading existing building facades in Cañon City, especially among Historic Downtown Cañon City and along the Highway 50 corridor. The program seeks to bring new life to existing buildings or (sign) structures, which do not conform to current standards or are in need of a “facelift.” By assisting property owners to upgrade the appearance of their buildings, the aesthetic environment of Cañon City is enhanced, thus improving the economic vitality for all businesses and the City as a whole. 

Qualifications and Grant Criteria

  • The applicant shall be the building owner or tenant with a building owner consent letter 
  • The building must be located in the City limits of Cañon City 
  • Businesses must be in good standing with the City of Cañon City 
  • Businesses must be a commercial business (exclusions: home-based, residential living facilities or non-profit/tax-exempt)
  • Building improvements apply to exterior improvements only 
    • If requesting funding for exterior improvements or landscaping, the building must show significant wear. 
    • If requesting improvements to an existing sign structure (i.e. freestanding signs), the freestanding sign must be deteriorated or old enough that it no longer complies with the City’s current sign ordinance. 
  • Property cannot be classified as “Exempt” by the Fremont County Assessor 
  • Applicants of buildings with multiple storefronts are encouraged to work together to receive at least one set of estimates to achieve a uniform look for the entire building. This should also reduce the cost per storefront. 
  • If the property owner or tenant is making the improvements themselves and not hiring a contractor, then only the cost of materials (less sales tax, permits, and application fees) will be considered for reimbursement. 
    • If the applicant is the tenant or the improvements are tenant specific, a copy of the current lease period should reflect an expiration of at least 2 years from the date of the application.
    • If a multi-tenant building has existing vacancies, the City will require the owner/landlord to provide proof that the space is being actively marketed for lease. The maximum grant reimbursement consideration shall be $2,000.
    • Applicants must verify that there are no code enforcement violations on the property. Any violations must be resolved prior to approval and execution of the Facade Improvement Grant.
    • Grant assistance does not apply to home-based businesses or property owners or organizations defined as “exempt” by the Fremont County Assessor.
    • Applicant must obtain grant program approval prior to beginning construction. Projects under construction or already completed do not qualify. 
    • Projects must receive all required approvals and permits through the City of Cañon City. Approval processes and permitting may run concurrently with the grant application, however, all approvals and permits must be obtained for final approval and reimbursement. 
    • For budget purposes, projects must be completed by December 31st, of the current year.


Types of exterior upgrade improvements which are eligible for the reimbursement grant are: 

  • Painting of building facade 
  • Gutters and downspouts
  • Replace or upgrade exterior deteriorated materials 
  • Awnings or canopies
  • Add, repair or replace parapet walls and/or the addition of architectural details such as cornices 
  • Replacement of deteriorated doors and windows
  • Add, repair or replace arcade/canopy facade, display window lighting, and decorative exterior lighting 
  • Landscaping and fencing
  • Permanent bike racks 
  • Replacement of existing non-conforming or deteriorated freestanding monument signs only: To qualify for a replacement monument sign, the applicant must demonstrate that the existing sign is either non-conforming with the current City sign code, or that the replacement sign will be an upgrade and improvement in appearance from the existing deteriorated sign. New tenant signage does not qualify unless, as stated above, the property owner is replacing their existing non-conforming, deteriorated freestanding monument sign with an upgraded, improved sign. 
  • Rooftop mechanical screening 
  • Exterior lighting 
  • Wall Signage is not eligible

Submittal Requirements

  • Completed Cañon City Facade Improvement Grant Program application 
  • Proof of property ownership 
  • The applicant must submit a written estimate for the same scope of work.
  • Photos or color renderings of the improvement 
  • Owner Consent Letter, if applicable 

Projects/improvements must obtain all appropriate City approvals (e.g. Site Plan, Site Plan Amendment, land use permit, sign permit, and applicable building permits from the Cañon City Building Department), be consistent with the Cañon City Facade Improvement Grant Program’s intent and guidelines, and are subject to all applicable City of Cañon City ordinances and standards. Requests for grant program funding may run concurrently with other required City approval processes. 

The Cañon City Facade Improvement Grant Program reimbursement grant requires that the recipient invest an equal or greater amount towards the improvement efforts. The City’s reimbursement will not exceed $2,000 per business. 

*** Cañon City Facade Improvement Grant Program is subject to funding availability. Funding is determined on a first-come, first-served basis.*** 

Applicants are to designate one person who will be the applicant’s contact person for this project. The applicant selects the contractor and is responsible for completing any agreements with the contractor for all improvements. City staff will not provide assistance in obtaining bids. 

For further questions about the program, please contact Rick Harrmann, Economic Development Manager at rlharrmann@canoncity.org

Application Requirements

The applicant completes the Cañon City Capital Project Grant Application including:

  • Proof of Property Ownership or owner consent letter
  • One written estimate. 
  • Photos and color renderings of the improvement
  • Attached answers to all questions in the application4 

Return application and attachments prior to the beginning of construction to:

City of Cañon City
Economic Development
128 Main Street (physical)
PO Box 1460 (mailing)
Cañon City, CO 81212

Or email: rlharrmann@canoncity.org

  • Staff reviews the application and approves or denies the request. Approval is based on availability of program funds, qualifications, and eligibility
  • Economic Development staff will confirm via an Award Letter that you have been approved for reimbursement
  • Once approved the business owner must obtain all appropriate City approvals (e.g. Site Plan, Site Plan Amendment, Building permits, sign permits).
  • After successful completion of the project applicant submits proof of payment to all vendors (invoices with zero balance, cleared check, credit card statement, etc.) for the project to rlharrmann@canoncity.org 
  • Reimbursement will only be made once all payments have been made to the vendor and all City approvals have been completed and inspected

*Cañon City Facade Improvement Grant Application