MILTON — The second application cycle is now open for the 2018-2019 Main Street Milton Business Improvement Program (BIP) for downtown businesses. This program provides commercial property and businesses an opportunity to apply for grants or loans for façade improvements, signage, infrastructure and business start-up/expansion expenses. The program provides funding to upgrade the appearance of properties, increase property values, and stimulate economic activity within the targeted areas. BIP is available to property owners and/or business tenants only. Funds are awarded in three categories:

Sign grant: providing up to $500 to be used exclusively for new or replacement business exterior signage. No match is required.

Commercial façade grant: providing up to $2,500 to be used for improvements to the exterior façade of a building. A 100 percent match is required.

Business micro loan: providing up to $5,000 to be used for commercial façade improvements, equipemtn, signage, etc. A 100 percent match is required; 20 percent of the loan is forgiven annually.

Examples of eligible items include:

ADA handicapped access
New windows and doors
Exterior lighting
Exterior painting
Minor landscaping
Restoration of architectural features
Screening / fencing
Sprinkler systems
Parking improvements
New or replacement awnings
Soft costs like architect / engineer costs, licenses, fees, limited to 20 percent of award

Examples of ineligible items include:

Interior modifications and / or rehabilitation (matching funds may be used for interior project costs
Refinancing existing debt
Owner-performed labor (unless the owner is a duly licensed contractor)

For those interested in the 2018-19 BIP, four information sessions will take place 11:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on  Feb. 6 and March 6 at the Main Street Milton Event Center, 5256 Alabama Street in Milton. Attendance at an information session is not mandatory to apply for a grant or loan. Anyone interested in the program is encouraged to attend one of these sessions.

The application is available on Main Street Milton’s website at The deadline for applications is April 26 at 4 p.m. CST.

Contact Main Street Milton at (850) 564-1647 or email Ed Spears, Executive Director, at for more information.