The Union City Borough Interior/Structural Improvement Grant Program seeks to assist commercial property owners and/or business owners (with property owner permission) with projects that rehabilitate, restore, or preserve historic resources in the downtown in order to enhance the vibrancy of the central business district. The purpose of the grant program is to:

  • preserve the architectural heritage of the downtown,
  • foster an attractive and safe environment,
  • stimulate private investment in the form of new development, redevelopment, and renovation that is consistent with the historic integrity of the downtown,
  • foster civic pride and a sense of place, and
  • create a compelling image to increase commerce and profits, attract new businesses, retain existing businesses, attract all age groups, and encourage long-term commitments to the community.

Applicants will be required to meet with a representative of the Grant Committee prior to submitting an application and review project and budget details.

These grants will be made on a 50/50 matching basis. Union City Borough will provide up to 50% of the project cost as a grant with the remaining 50% of the cost being the property/business owner’s responsibility. The maximum grant awarded will be $12,000.

Grants will be made on a reimbursement basis, following a process which includes application submittal, committee review and approval, and construction. Applicants will receive grant funds after completion of the approved improvement project and submission of digital jpeg “after” project photographs, copies of invoices, receipts, and proof of payment(s).

All projects must be completed within nine (9) months of grant award notification. Grant monies may not be used for permit fees, sidewalks, benches, trees, flowers, shrubs, or temporary signs.

Applications are due by February 19, 2021. Priority will be given to projects that meet all of the criteria, have the greatest overall impact on the downtown, and are listed in the recently completed Interior/Structural Assessment of the building. (If a property owner does not have access to the
Interior/Structural Assessment prepared for their building, please contact the Borough to access a copy.)

Program Boundaries:
All buildings within the designated downtown boundary, which is Main Street from High Street to Concord Street/2 nd Avenue, are eligible for these grant funds, provided that all improvements are in compliance with the codes and ordinances of Union City Borough.

Any person(s) owning property in the established boundaries is eligible to apply. Qualifying commercial properties include single-purpose retail and office buildings and mixed-use buildings containing combinations of retail, office, and residential apartments. Merchants located in the defined area are eligible to apply with the property owner’s consent.

Single-purpose apartment buildings are generally not eligible for this grant program. However, individual proposals will be considered on a case-by case basis.There are three categories of support defined in the following paragraphs. Examples of eligible projects, interior or exterior, are provided after the definitions and apply to all three categories.

The act or process of applying measures necessary to sustain the existing form, integrity and materials of a historic property. Work, including preliminary measures to protect and stabilize the property, generally focuses upon the ongoing maintenance and repair of historic materials and features rather than extensive replacement and new construction. New exterior additions are not within the scope of this treatment; however, the limited and sensitive upgrading of the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems and other code required work to make properties functional is appropriate within a preservation project.

The act or process of making possible a compatible use for a property through repair, alterations and additions while preserving those portions or features which convey its historical, cultural and architectural values.

The act or process of accurately depicting the form, features and character of a property as it appeared at a particular period of time by means of the removal of features from other periods in its history and reconstruction of missing features from the restoration period. The limited and sensitive upgrading of mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems and other code related work to make properties functional is appropriate within a restoration project.

Work may be interior or structural. Specific examples of fundable project work include the following:

  • Site work – subsurface investigation, selective demolition, drainage and restoration of designed landscapes and gardens;
  • Concrete – poured-in-place concrete, precast concrete, concrete restoration and cleaning, excludes sidewalk replacement/repair;
  • Masonry – brick or stone repair or replacement, repointing mortar joints and cleaning;
  • Metals – structural metal framing and metal restoration or replacement;
  • Wood and Plastics – rough and finish carpentry, architectural woodwork and millwork;
  • Thermal and Moisture Protection – roofing, flashing, waterproofing, damp proofing and insulation;
  • Doors and Windows – repair and restoration, frame repair, replacement and hardware;
  • Finishes – lath and plaster repair, gypsum wallboard, ceramic tile, wood paneling, floors and painting;
  • Conveying Systems – elevators;
  • Mechanical – plumbing, fire protection systems, heating, cooling and air distribution;
  • Electrical – service, distribution and lighting; and
  • Accessibility improvements for people with disabilities.

Ineligible Activities
Interior/Structural Improvement Grants may not be used to fund the following:

  • Mitigation activities performed as a condition or precondition for obtaining a state or federal permit or license;
  • New construction;
  • Reconstruction such as recreating a building or landscape;
  • Projects whose entire scope of work consists solely of routine or cyclical maintenance;
  • Landscaping as part of parking lots, sidewalks, etc.;
  • Projects which consist only of predevelopment work such as construction documents; and
  • Acquisition of properties and/or land.

All improvements must comply with standards set forth in the Union City Borough zoning ordinance and building codes, as well as applicable sections of the Pennsylvania building codes and the federal Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines.

When possible, improvements should comply with the Secretary of the Interiors Standards for Rehabilitation located at If questions arise, please refer them to Preservation Erie at

Grant funding may not be used to pay for work that is currently in progress or has been completed.

Only one application per project per property may receive funding. Funding for phased projects will be considered on a case-by-case basis when compelling circumstances are presented by an applicant.

The Grant Committee reserves the right to consider increasing matching funding for “significant structures,” such as anchor buildings.

Applicants must be up-to-date and/or in compliance with all local, state and federal taxes.