City of Noblesville OKs changes to facade program


Noblesville has approved changes to its residential facade improvement grant program, which provides funding to homeowners living in historic districts.

The grant program, which was established by the city in 2022, provides grants to homeowners in National Register Historic Districts within the city limits. City officials worked with its legal department regarding some of the amendments before bringing it back to the Noblesville Common Council for further consideration, said Aaron Head, community engagement manager with the city.

Some of the changes involved looking at scenarios such as if contractors didn’t get paid by a homeowner for a particular project, Head said.

According to the city, the purpose of the residential facade improvement grant program is “to stimulate investment, maintenance and revitalization through preservation, rehabilitation and restoration of residential buildings by offering financial and limited technical assistance for facade improvements,” according to the ordinance, which was recently approved by the Noblesville Common Council. Eligible homes under the grant program must be within one of the city’s four historic districts: Catherine Street, Conner Street, Plum Prairie and South 9th Street.

“The meat of the ordinance changed really in two respects,” said City Attorney Jonathan Hughes.

Hughes said one of the amendments tied to the grant program document, describing it as one “that is more bound in time we made a little more flexible.” He added that Noblesville has the ability to make changes for individual circumstances if needed while taking steps such as reserving the right to put a lien on a particular property if someone doesn’t get work done correctly.

In addition, Hughes said it could also include lien waivers if the city thought it would help someone to get a contractor involved as well. Hughes added that other changes tied to payment have also been implemented.

“It requires that when we give the grant to the grantee that money gets immediately transferred to the contractor and we get immediate assurance of that,” he said.

Hughes said if that isn’t done, the city has the right to recoup all of that money back.

“And so that’s the ultimate goal is to give some surety that we can either put a lien on the property or get the money back through other means and that’s how we amended the program to, I think, make the program work a little more fluid and consistent with what the council was concerned about, which is ‘How do we make sure our money’s being used for the right thing?’” Hughes said.

Under the residential facade grant program, work must be completed first with the city paying the money to the homeowner, who would then give those funds to a contractor, according to Hughes. The three-way agreement essentially means that the city would meet with the contractor and homeowner while encouraging the contractor to do the work with the understanding that the city is financially behind the project, Hughes added.

A total of $25,000 annually has been allocated for each of the four historic districts this year and in 2024 with funding available on a first-come, first-served basis. Homes within the Plum Prairie Historic District are eligible for 75 percent reimbursement of approved project costs up to $5,000 per building, while all homes located in the three other historic districts are eligible for 50% reimbursement of approved project costs up to $5,000, according to the city.