Applications for Seymour’s new Curb Appeal Program will be available starting Thursday morning.
Any residents needing financial assistance to improve the exterior appearance and quality of their property and enhance the visual appeal of their neighborhood can apply.
The program provides matching funds up to $500 for improvement projects for a single property owner or up to $750 if neighbors apply together. Applicants are required to pay all expenses related to their approved project and then will be reimbursed by the city.
Printable applications are available online at seymourcity.com/images/2021/pdf/Curb-Appeal-Grant-Program.pdf or can be picked up at Seymour City Hall, 301-309 N. Chestnut. St., Seymour. Photos of the property before any work has been completed must be included in the application.
Eligible projects include lawns, landscape beds or planter areas; tree and/or shrub maintenance or installation; soil, mulch, sod, landscape stone, landscape fabric, edging, pavers or other ground cover; flowers, shrubs, bushes, trees or other vegetation; exterior washing or painting; painting or staining of porches, decks or fences; lead-based paint remediation; exterior paint/primer/stain; reroofing and/or residing; tuck-pointing, masonry repair or reconstruction; repair or replacement of windows, doors and trim, lighting, gutters, soffit and fascia, porches and/or decks; and repair, reconstruction, removal or installation of fencing, private walks or driveways.
Reimbursement for labor costs is available if a licensed professional is hired to complete the work.
The program is under the direction of the Seymour Department of Planning and Zoning. Applications will be reviewed and approved by the city’s building commissioner.
The Seymour City Council gave final approval for the program last week, creating a Curb Appeal Program fund and transferring $10,000 to start it from the city’s unsafe structure fund.
Mayor Matt Nicholson said such a program is similar to the city granting tax abatements to companies and businesses for expansion and real estate improvement projects.
“In my mind, it’s a lot like that except it’s for residential property,” he said. “We’re not giving them an abatement, but we are offering a grant match. I think it’s a good way for us to experiment to see if we can make some places look better.”
Councilman Matt Wheeler said he is excited to see what the grant program will do for the city.
“It’s a great concept for many reasons: Building relationships between neighbors, beautifying neighborhoods and raising property values of the homes in our community,” he said.
Goals of the program include:
- Assisting in overall Seymour revitalization and improving the city’s appearance and image
- Raising and improving the value of housing in city limits
- Providing property owners with resources to make improvements
- Leveraging larger improvement projects and investment that may not otherwise take place
- Creating a positive influence on surrounding properties to encourage further investment by neighboring property owners
Only residents who live in city limits are eligible for the funding and must own the property being improved. Elected city officials cannot participate in the program. Applicants who receive funding cannot apply again for another 12 months.
All projects must be visible from the front of the property but in some instances may include side yards.
Property owners must have an annual household income of less than $100,000 to qualify for assistance.
Bonnye Good, a member of the city’s redevelopment commission, said the Curb Appeal Program is a great idea.
“It makes me proud to live in a city taking proactive steps like this,” she said. “There’s a lot of evidence, often cited in historic preservation and urban renewal efforts, that shows how quickly neighborhoods can go into decline to the point that it sinks property values and decimates the neighborhood feel.”
That decline leads to the city having to spend hours of work and money to convince property owners to improve or tear down their dilapidated homes, she added.
“It’s much cheaper to avoid the neglect in the first place, and our city is definitely showing that they are working for the betterment of our community,” she said.
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Printable applications for Seymour’s new Curb Appeal Program are available online at seymourcity.com/images/2021/pdf/Curb-Appeal-Grant-Program.pdf or can be picked up at Seymour City Hall, 301-309 N. Chestnut. St., Seymour.