City of Noblesville considers amending residential facade grant program


City leaders in Noblesville will consider amending a residential facade grant program for the Plum Prairie Historic District this month that could increase the overall dollar amount awarded to recipients.

Under the proposed amendment, a city ordinance would be updated to allow for a 75/25 funding match instead of a 50/50 match within the district. The district is roughly bounded by Vine, Walnut, 7th, South and 5th streets, including the block west to 4th between Walnut and Pleasant streets, according to a 2019 pending list on the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places website.

Under the changes, minimum grants would be $1,000 for projects with up to a $750 reimbursement, while maximum grants for $10,000 projects and up to $7,500 in reimbursements, according to the city. The changes would also bring a hike in grant opportunities for homeowners who live in the Plum Prairie Historic District.

If the changes are approved by the Noblesville Common Council, funding would be a 75/25 match with the city paying for 75% of the project costs up to the maximum of $7,500, according to city documents. In addition, a 75% reimbursement of total approved project costs up to a maximum of $5,000 per building ($10,000 total project cost) would be permitted under the proposed changes.

The amendments were set to be initially considered by city leaders last month, but it was postponed.

Aaron Head, the city’s community engagement manager, told the council that the ordinance program “is designed to stimulate investment, promote architectural appreciation and initiate aesthetic improvements to historic residential properties within National Register Historic Districts in the City of Noblesville.”

“Over the course of this new program, grant funds within the Plum Prairie District have not been utilized to their fullest extent,” Head said. “In many instances, potential applicants noted that the program requirements were not financially feasible for moving projects forward.”

Head said the amounts of the grant awards, along with a requirement of a reimbursement after applicants have paid contractors in full, are the two components that have been identified for updates under the program.

“Amendments to the ordinance and updates to the grant manual directly reflect the city’s goal of assisting residents within the Plum Prairie District in the ability to better access available grant funding,” Head said.

Head also pointed out the program was initiated under the terms of an agreement with the Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources’ Division of Historic Preservation & Archeology in reference to the Reimagine Pleasant Street project. The agreement dedicates $50,000 per year for three years for residential facade improvement grants, according to Head.

The council is set to revisit the amendments during its 7 p.m. meeting June 13 at Noblesville City Hall.