Commercial Building Improvement Program

What is the Commercial Building Improvement Program?

The City wishes to encourage OWNER/LESSEES to update existing structures to new building codes as it pertains to improved safety. The City also wishes to encourage OWNER/LESSEES to update existing structures to comply with Illinois Accessibility Code requirements. This code establishes minimum scoping and technical design requirements to ensure that the built environment in the State of Illinois is designed, constructed and altered to be accessible to and usable by all, including individuals with disabilities. 

The program operates on a reimbursement basis covering 25% of all applicable costs up to $25,000 pertaining to improvements that satisfy current building codes. Funds will only be reimbursed by the City after all authorized work is completed, inspected and approved by the City. All work is subject to prevailing wage requirements and the applicant must demonstrate compliance with this requirement.

Eligible Properties and Applicants

Eligible properties include all commercial buildings within B1 zoning district. Any commercial building owner or business owner with the building owner authorization may apply. An applicant must be current on property taxes, City utility bills and/or any other form of indebtedness to the City. 

Elected officials from the City, the City Administrator, the Public Works Director, City Planner and the Economic/Community Development Coordinator are ineligible from participating in this program. 

This request will be reviewed by the Economic/Community Development Coordinator. 

Eligible Improvements

A building owner or lessee, with authorization from the building owner, who is undertaking an improvement project of a commercial building may apply for the matching grant. No commercial redevelopment project involving a significant amount of construction will be considered. Nor any commercial redevelopment project that would require adherence to current building codes and ADA requirements will be considered. This program defines total project costs as those costs associated with the program’s design guidelines and incurred by third-party independent contractors to make improvements. 

The following improvements are eligible to receive funds through this program and include: 

• Updating the electrical system to current building code standards 

• Adding or updating a sprinkler system 

• Adding or updating a fire alarm system 

• Updating an existing structure to improve ADA accessibility 

• Architectural/engineering assistance and design fees upon completion

*Visible exterior improvements such as entryway door frames or ramp access must first be approved by HPC if in the historic district

Ineligible Projects

The Commercial Building Improvement Program will not provide funds for:

• Working capital 

• Debt refinancing 

• Equipment/inventory acquisitions 

• Legal or permit fees 

• Plumbing repair/improvements 


• Improvements that are not of a permanent nature 

• General repair/improvement 

• Work provided for parking lot repairs or resurfacing


Applicant Responsibilities:

1. The Applicant must complete an application and submit for the City’s review prior to any work being started. 

2. In the application, the Applicant will provide an expected date of completion of the project. If the project is not completed by this date, funds may be withheld. 

3. The Applicant will select the architect, engineer and contractors who will participate in the project, comply with competitive bidding and standard prevailing wage requirements, and obtain all permits and necessary approvals from the City associated with the project. 

4. At the completion of the project, the Applicant must submit copies of all relevant contractor or vendor invoices with receipts verifying payment. Invoices must be marked as paid by the contractor or vendor. 

5. Applicant agrees to protect, identify, defend and hold harmless the City against and from any and all claims, liabilities, demands, causes of action, judgments, attorney fees and losses to the City arising in favor of or asserted by any person or entity on account of personal injury, death or damages to property arising out of, in connection with, or incidental to the negligence or willful misconduct of Applicant, or its agents or employees related to the activities under the program. 

City Responsibilities:

1. The City provides the Applicant with the Commercial Building Improvement Program application. 

2. The City reviews the application and determines which activities and expenses are eligible. 

3. The City evaluates the eligible expenses as they relate to the program objectives and calculates the matching funds subsidy to determine the contribution to the project. 

4. City notifies the Applicant of project approval. 

5. The City closes out the application upon satisfactory completion of the project which includes: 

a. Inspection of the project for completeness and compliance to design submitted in the application.

b. Review lien waivers for contractors, subcontractors and vendors. 

c. Review paid invoices and/or prevailing wage payroll certification from contractors and vendors. 

d. Process claim for payment.

6. The City has no responsibility for payment of any Applicant’s material, laborers or contractors. 

7. The City shall have no civil liability for any damages or claims arising from any of the Applicant’s undertakings.

To fill out the form online and submit it, please go here: Commercial-Building-Improvement-Program--123

To print out the form to submit, please click here: Printable Commercial Building Improvement Application.

Questions? Please contact James Arnold, the City's Economic and Community Development director, by phone (618-692-7533) or email (