Businesses in the Wicker Park and Bucktown neighborhoods can take advantage of Facade and Graffiti Rebate Programs thanks to the local chamber of commerce. Both programs aim to preserve the character of historic architecture and street-level commercial areas.
"Our mission is to improve the public way, and tackling vandalism is an important and effective way to do this," says Eleanor Mayer at the Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce.
The Facade Rebate Program helps business owners improve the overall physical appearance of their buildings' exterior. This could include facade renovations, historic signs and restorations, awning installation, exterior lighting, windows and doors, and signage. For these eligible improvements, the rebate program covers up to 50 percent of approved costs, not to exceed $5,000.
The Graffiti Rebate Program reimburses small business for a portion of glass repair or graffiti prevention, covering 50% of the cost up to $1,000.
The chamber launched the rebate programs in 2007 and has typically seen 20 applications come in each year from local businesses interested in participating. April marks the beginning of the 2010 season for the facade and graffiti programs. Rudy's Roundup in Wicker Park is one of the businesses that has taken advantage of both rebate programs, and the improvement is significant.
"We have received lots of positive feedback from neighbors, merchants and vendors," adds Mayer. "Residents like it too-graffiti really frustrates folks so a program that encourages abatement is usually very well received."