2020 BIG Grant applications being taken now

In an effort to improve the appearance of the business area and complement the historic architectural and cultural character of the community, the Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group (CDG) is now accepting applications for the BIG (business improvement grants) to businesses in the Mount Vernon Business District and Lisbon Business District. These grants will be offered on a competitive basis to both private, for-profit businesses and non-profit businesses.

An application can be found here

The Scoring Matrix for informational purposes only can be found here

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Your business and/or building must be in the Mount Vernon Business District or the Lisbon Business District, and must be open and operational.
  • The 2020 grant program will focus on four projects: building awnings, projecting/hanging signage, facade lighting, and facade improvements.
  • Proposed projects must be in compliance with local codes and standards including historic preservation guidelines.
  • Your completed grant application must be received by Joe Jennison, Director, by the date specified in the application instructions, must be type-written, and must be consistent with the application guidelines. Submittals received after this date will not be accepted.
  • Applicants may submit multiple projects. A separate application must be submitted for each eligible project by the appropriate business or building owner.

2020 Grant Focus: Each year the BIG program will focus on a small selection of project types. With the goal being the overall improvement of the visual identity of the business districts, we feel that this focus allows for more of an impact on the whole as continuity brings individual projects together to create a larger picture.

  • Building Awnings: Awnings shall be canvas on a metal frame. Awnings may be operable or fixed. Graphics, logos, and other information such as business name and address may be located on end panels and drop panels.
  • Projecting Signs: Signs must conform to the current City of Mount Vernon or City of Lisbon Sign Ordinance where applicable. Additionally, signs must be approved by the Mount Vernon Historic Preservation Commission. Signs may be of steel, aluminum, wood (painted or unpainted), a combination of these materials or any other approved material. Signs cannot be self-lit but may be lighted by lights mounted on the structure adjacent to the sign.
  • Facade Lighting: Lighting should highlight unique historical architectural features. Fixtures should be minimal in size and installation should have minimal, if any, visible impact on the historic structure. As with all projects facade lighting must be in compliance with local codes and standards including historic preservation guidelines.
  • Facade Improvements: Facade improvements must have a visual impact and be visible from the public way. Projects under this category could include painting, trim, the restoration or recreation of authentic decorative work and other general improvements. To ensure that your project under this category is clearly defined, it is strongly recommended that a presentation of the project be made as offered in the application.
  • Projects not falling into any of the grant focus areas will also be considered but preference will be given to those projects that meet the focus area criteria.

Application Instructions:

  • Grants must be submitted electronically in either a word or pdf format. There are no page length restrictions.
  • The application must be complete and stand on its own. All supplemental and required documents must be attached. The CDG reserves the right to waive minor deficiencies in the grant application and to contact grant applicants for additional information if needed.
  • (1) One signed original along with attachments shall be submitted electronically to Joe Jennison, Director, at [email protected]. Applications must be received no later than June 30, 2020. Submittals received after this date will NOT be accepted.


June 30, 2020   Application deadline

July 1-15, 2020  Applications reviewed by the Design Committee.

July 20, 2020     Award notices.

August 1, 2020              Commencement of work. Work begun before this date is not eligible. Approvals from applicable City review agencies (Zoning, Building, Historic Preservation) are required prior to the commencement of any work.

Nov. 30, 2020                Completion of work. Work must be completed by this date. Grant money awarded to applicants will be paid upon the successful completion and approval of the project by the Design Committee. Projects not fully completed by this date will only receive funding at the discretion of the CDG Design Committee.


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