GENESEO — Livingston County Economic Development has recently initiated a new grant program for the designated downtown districts of Livingston County: The Downtown Enhancement Program.

This new program includes potential funding for public art installations as well as the traditional sign and façade improvement program for downtown buildings.

A Commercial District Analysis was completed last year for the nine villages of the Downtown Partnership and one of the recommendations included the creation of a public art program for the core business districts. As a result, Public Art Committees are currently being established in each community with the mission of developing a plan for permanent public art installations throughout the downtowns.

As in the past, reimbursement grants of up to $5,000 will be available to qualifying building or business owners for sign and façade projects. New this year, the Villages may apply for funds to supplement public art projects in their commercial district. All projects will need to comply with the design guidelines that have already been established for each community, and all projects must demonstrate matching funds of 50% of the project cost. The deadline for all applications is May 15. Awards will be announced the first week of June and all projects must be completed by November of this year.

“We are looking for projects that are transformative for the downtown district,” said Louise Wadsworth, Downtown Coordinator for Livingston County. “A carved perpendicular sign, a colorful awning or additional display window lighting can transform a storefront and has been proven to impact sales and traffic in the downtown. We are also looking for permanent public art projects that reflect the character and culture of the community. This program is intended to facilitate permanent art projects in the downtown districts with the goal of attracting new pedestrian traffic and increasing community pride.”

Livingston County has been acknowledged as a leader in downtown revitalization in New York State. During the last 10 years more than $10.5 million of private and public funds have been invested in over 240 projects in our downtown districts by utilizing a combination of programs and incentives.

Applications and complete program guidelines can be found at: www.livingstoncountydevelopment.com/DowntownParnership or contact Louise Wadsworth, Downtown Coordinator, at 585-243-7124