Downtown Commercial
Beautification Grant Program

Application Portal is Open Monday, February 5th at 9:00am

GENERAL INFORMATION:

The City of Corona will utilize approximately $300,000 of American Rescue Plan Act funding to create the Downtown Commercial Beautification Grant Program to respond to the negative economic impacts of COVID-19 and reinvigorate local economic recovery.  The City is partnering with Charitable Ventures, a 501c3 nonprofit, to administer this program.  This reimbursable funding program is designed to support the beautification and commercial enhancement within Corona’s Downtown area for eligible and approved businesses.

The program is intended to encourage business owners and/or commercial property owners to enhance the appearance of properties through improvements to commercial buildings. Improvements can have a significant impact on the appearance, community pride, economic setting, and marketability of the properties and businesses located Downtown.

Funds can be used towards storefront, façade, and exterior safety improvements. Funds can only reimburse materials costs and may not be used to cover permitting, construction, installation, or other labor costs.

The City of Corona will award fifteen (15), $20,000.00 awards to eligible applicants based on a scoring matrix (below) that reflects the location of business and high need of property rehabilitation. Other considerations are, accurate completion of application, agreement to work within the noted timeline, approval of property owner, ability to receive funding after the work has been completed and approval of these grant terms.

Please review the complete Program Guidelines HERE. Applicants must certify that they have reviewed and agree to the Program Guidelines when submitting their application.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:

  • Property must be in a physical commercial location within Downtown Corona boundaries including, retail, office, industrial or mixed use building
  • Applicant must be a private, for-profit business
  • Applicant must have property owner approval for improvements, in writing, if tenant applying
  • Applicant must have 25 or few FTE (full-time equivalent) employees
  • Business must have been in operation as of 1/1/2022

Upon completion of a pre-qualification review, City staff will review and score the application based on the below categories and criteria.

Scoring Categories and Maximum Points

Category

Maximum Points

High visibility along Sixth Street or Main Street 20
Higher value of estimated improvements 15
Within Downtown Corona Specific Plan area 15
Type of proposed improvements

  • Façade remodel (up to 10)
  • Awnings (up to 10)
  • Lighting (up to 5)
  • Windows/doors (up to 10)
  • Outdoor dining space (up to 10)
  • Safety-related improvements (up to 5)
  • Signage (up to 10)
  • Landscaping (up to 5)
  • Paint (up to 5)
  • Other (up to 5)
30
Feasibility of proposed improvements (e.g., Does proposed improvement comply with Specific Plan requirements?) 10
Adjacency to another eligible applicant 10

TOTAL

100

ELIGIBLE IMPROVEMENTS:

The Program is designed to support the City’s revitalization efforts Downtown by helping businesses enhance or revitalize storefronts.

Businesses must be located within the specified boundaries noted below. Click on the map link below to see if your business is located within the program area.

Eligible uses of funds are for:

  • Storefront upgrades
  • Awnings
  • Exterior lighting
  • Windows or doors
  • Outdoor dining spaces
  • Signage
  • Property beautification
  • Landscaping
  • Safety-related improvements (e.g., security cameras, security lighting, etc.)
  • Other capital improvements to be evaluated by City on a case-by-case basis

Please note: City staff will review the application in conjunction with any development standards required as part of a specific plan or any other governing documents.

Ineligible Improvements include, but are not limited to:

  • Portable signs; signs not mounted or attached to storefronts;
  • Improvements that are not in the public view
  • Improvements not approved by the City in writing

PROGRAM TIMELINE:

Application opens:  Monday, February 5, 2024, 9 a.m.

Application closes:  Monday, March 18, 5 p.m. or sooner dependent on number of applications received and approved.

Grantees will be required to complete all work by September 30, 2024.

Program grant funds will be awarded by, or before, December 31, 2024.

GRANT PROCESS:

Step One (Application):

  1. When the portal opens, applicants will have access to the full application.
  2. Applicants must complete the application in full, including uploading all the requested documentation. Applications will be screened for eligibility in the order received. Please take the time to ensure that your application and documentation are accurate and complete. Incomplete applications will be moved to the end of the line for verification if funding is available.
  3. When you submit your application, an immediate screen notification will pop-up to show that your application has been received.
  4. You will receive an email within two business days that your application has been received.
  5. Charitable Ventures will conduct an initial screening and verification of the application to confirm eligibility.

Step Two (Approval):

  1. The City will then make award decisions as applications are received and approved, until all 15 businesses have been approved for the grant improvements. However, you may be contacted during the review process to clarify aspects of your application, or if you have been disqualified during the initial eligibility screening.
  2. You will be notified of approval within 30 days of receiving an eligibility notification.

Step Three (Work Begins):

  1. Program Agreement: Once the application, scope of work, and property condition have been verified as eligible, the City and the applicant will enter into a Program Agreement that contains the terms and conditions required by the Program.
  2. Initial Notice to Proceed: After execution of the Program Agreement, the City will issue a Notice to Proceed with work via an email. No work shall be initiated, contracted for, or performed until after the Notice to Proceed has been issued. The City will not approve reimbursement for work completed prior to the issuance of the Notice to Proceed.
  3. Proposal Submittal: The applicant will be required to obtain and submit to the Economic Development Department, a detailed proposal for each item approved as part of the applicant’s scope of work for the Program-funded improvements. Proposals shall clearly state a cost for materials, with any costs relating to permitting, construction, installation, or other labor listed separately. The City will only reimburse the applicant for material costs.
  4. Proposal Approved: The City will review the proposals submitted by the applicant and verify the proposal is qualified. Approval will be given for the amount specified in the qualified proposal within the grant limits of the Program. The material supplier and/or the applicant will be responsible for obtaining all necessary permits for the Program-funded improvements. The amount of Program funds available for reimbursement is limited to the approved, qualified proposal.
  5. Permitting: Upon application approval and following an executed Program Agreement, the applicant shall ensure that the contractor obtains all necessary permits for the Program-funded improvements. This includes submitting project plans and related materials to the City’s Building Division.  No work shall commence unless the permit application has been approved.
  6. Final Notice to Proceed: Once the applicant has submitted all required procurement documents for the Program-funded improvements, the City will issue a final Notice to Proceed in an email. No reimbursement shall be issued for work completed or contracted prior to the issuance of the Notice to Proceed.

Step Four (Funding):

  1. It is the responsibility of the applicant to obtain all eligible receipts from contractors or vendors to submit for reimbursement.
  2. After the applicant notifies the City that all work has been completed, an inspection of the work will be conducted. This inspection will include a review of the permits issued and inspections of permitted work.
  3. Based upon the results of the inspection, funding distribution will be received after all work is completed and eligible receipts have been uploaded to the portal and verified (link provided at a later date.)
  4. Reimbursements will be given via ACH bank routing deposits, after receipts have been verified and approved. (Banking information to be requested at a later date on our secure site.)

If you have questions, please contact CoronaRelief@charitableventuresoc.org or by phone at (714) 597-6630 x111(Available 8am – 5pm, M-F – except holidays)

DOCUMENTATION REQUIRED:

You will be asked to provide the following documentation and information in the application to be considered for funding:

For Application:

  • Signed W-9 form (learn more). A 1099 will be issued by January 31, 2025, to all awardees, in the amount of the total award
  • Valid and current city of Corona Business License
  • Payroll Register (to prove employee count, unless you have no employees)
  • 2022 full Federal Tax Returns
  • Copy of grant deed information if the applicant is the property or owner or a copy of the current lease (financial terms of lease may be redacted)
  • Letter from property owner(s), if tenant applying, with consent for improvements
  • 2-3 current photos of building exterior, with particular attention to specific areas that Program funds would be used to improve (e.g., pictures of windows, if requesting funds for window repair or replacement)

For Funding (secure link to be provided after work completion):

  • Project-specific receipts or invoices up to or over $20,000 for eligible expenses as shown under Eligible Funding. Material costs must be separated from any permitting, construction, labor, or installation costs referenced on receipts or invoices. The City will only reimburse material costs for the project.
  • Business Bank Routing Information (Bank name, name on account, account type (checking or savings), account number and routing number – to be uploaded through our secure site)

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

Is grant application information available in other languages?

At the top of the webpage, there is a language selection available in the following languages: English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, Hindi, and Arabic.

If I have questions that are not included on the website, who can I email?

Please email questions regarding the grant application and process to CoronaRelief@charitableventuresoc.org or call (714) 597-6630 x111.  A response will be provided within 1-3 business days.

How will I know if my application was received?

Upon submission, you will see a confirmation page confirming that your application was successfully submitted. You will also receive email confirmation approximately 24-48 hours after submission at the email address listed in your application. Please be sure to double-check your email address before submitting to ensure that you receive further communications. If you don’t receive confirmation, please check your spam folder prior to reaching out.

Please note, depending, on the initial volume of applicants, the system might temporarily show your application as “sending.” Please be patient – our system will accept your submission in the order received.

How do I know if my business is in the eligible program area?

To be eligible for funding the business must be in operation in the specified area of downtown Corona. You can verify the area HERE.

Will the City help with getting permits completed in a timely manner?

Yes. City staff will work to ensure as expeditious of a permitting review, as possible. An Economic Development staff member will serve as a point of contact to ensure the process advances as quickly as possible.

What if my property owner isn’t interested in this grant program?

We’re sorry – you will need the property owner’s permission to apply for this grant program.

The application is asking for an Employer Identification Number (EIN), what is this?

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) also known as the Federal Employer Identification Number, or the Federal Tax Identification Number (FTIN) is a nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to business entities operating in the United States for the purposes of identification.

What can I use the grant funds to pay for?

Eligible uses of funds are for:

  • Storefront upgrades
  • Awnings
  • Exterior lighting
  • Windows or doors
  • Outdoor dining spaces
  • Signage
  • Property beautification
  • Landscaping
  • Safety-related improvements (e.g., security cameras, security lighting, etc.)
  • Other capital improvements to be evaluated by City on a case-by-case basis

Will I have to pay taxes on the grant funding I receive?

Yes. Grantees will receive a Form 1099 from Charitable Ventures by January 31, 2025. We cannot provide tax advice and it is recommended that applicants seek financial counsel from an attorney or tax professional prior to applying for this grant, if needed.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

For additional information, please email CoronaRelief@charitableventuresoc.org or call (714) 597-6630 x111. (Available 8am – 5pm, Monday – Friday – except holidays)

Thank you for your interest in the city of Corona Downtown Commercial Beautification Grant Program.

APPLICATION:

ABOUT US:

This Relief Program is being administered by Charitable Ventures, a 501c3 nonprofit organization.