Downtown Enhancement

Façade Grant program

The City of Graham’s Façade Grant program was established by City Council in 2004 to promote economic growth within the historic overlay of downtown.

The façade grant program provides matching funds for exterior improvements to historic non-residential structures.  It is designed to provide incentive funds to property owners in the Historic District to increase rehabilitation activity.  It promotes the beautification of the Historic District and its importance to the history of Graham and its residents.  The façade grant program encourages investment in the Historic District, and the funding would only apply to improvements that were consistent with the historic district and must be approved by the Historic Resources Commission (HRC).

Examples of improvements …

    • Removing of false fronts and metal canopies
    • Safe cleaning of brick and stone fronts
    • Sign replacements
    • Canvas awning installation
    • Window and door repairs or replacements
    • Repainting
    • Structural repair to exterior
    • Historic reconstructions
    • Store front reconstruction
    • Tuck point mortar joints
    • Stain brick to match existing
    • Roof vents on store face
    • Exterior lighting
    • Relocate electrical wiring

What is a Façade?

A façade is defined as one side of a building regardless of the number of stories.  Each store front of a building can be considered a façade.  The rear of a building may also be considered for a façade grant with priority given to the front of the building.

Who is Eligible?

Façade grant funding would initially apply to only non-residential properties in the Downtown Historic District.  For an illustration navigate to the historic district website to view a map of the Downtown Historic District to view the area that will benefit.

To apply. . .

To be considered for funding, a complete application packet must be received by the Planning Department no later than 5:00pm on Monday,  September XX, 2020.

A complete application packet includes:

  • A completed Façade Grant Application
  • A completed Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) Application
  • An existing photo of the building or structure
  • Drawings, sketches or pictures showing the proposed renovations
  • At least two itemized cost estimates

Complete application packets should be sent to the planning department  at 201 S Main St, Graham, NC 27253.

NC Main Street & Rural Planning Center’s Downtown Associate Community Program (DAC)

The DAC program is the first step towards the NC Main Street Designation.  State staff work with eligible communities to equip them with the tools to build a sustainable organizational foundation and conduct strategic economic development planning, which strengthens their downtown development efforts. 

The NC Main Street & Rural Planning Center selects communities every other year via a competitive application process.  North Carolina municipalities, with an identifiable traditional downtown business district and a certified population under 50,000 not already designated as a Main Street or Small Town Main Street community are eligible to apply to the Center for services under the Downtown Associate Community program.  Selected communities will receive three years of downtown revitalization technical assistance services from the NC Main Street & Rural Planning Center and may have the opportunity to move up to Main Street designation upon successful completion of the program. 

What this means for Downtown Graham …

    • A plan of work is designed for Downtown Graham spanning 2-3 years
    • The plan of work is an interactive process involving downtown businesses, property owners, community leaders, residents, champions and neighboring supporters of Graham 
    • The work plan is economic development within the context of historic preservation

Main Street’s Four Point Approach

Organization:  Building human and financial resources through public/private partnerships to achieve a common vision

Promotion:  Selling a positive image of downtown based on the assets of the community

Design:  Improving the physical aspects of downtown

Economic Vitality:  Strengthening the existing economic assets; expanding and diversifying the economic base


  • It is a partnership
  • It involves specialized training
  • It includes technical assistance
  • It involves networking with other downtown professionals
  • All leading to create a solid, sustainable program

DAC community meetings. . .

  • January 23, 2020 – click here to view the presentation
  • March 26, 2020 – post pone due to COVID-19

For more information contact, Mary Faucette, Downtown Development Coordinator (336)266.2248  | Email or stop by for a visit 201 S Main St, Graham, NC 27253.

The pulse of the City of Graham radiates from Court Square.  Here you will experience a city circling ten blocks of historic buildings, where unique and one of a kind small businesses offer tantalizing tasty treats to craft beer, a cinema and special treasures waiting to be explored.

Graham is home to restaurants, Forgotten Road Ales Brewery, a bottle shop and HiFi where you can sip and sway while picking out a new record to add to your collection.  Our retail businesses are smart and creative, offering the opportunity to find a gift, a present or that item you just can’t live without.  Graham is driven by service.  Our downtown service industry is ready to care for your pets, help you recover from an injury, provide you with a new hairstyle or serve your creative side.

Come visit!  Graham is ready to invite you for the day, the afternoon or evening.  There are events and things to do all year in downtown Graham!

Shop local, eat local and be entertained #downtowngrahamnc has so much to offer, come experience for yourself.   


Downtown development and/or redevelopment helps to create a successful downtown which is the historic center of our community. An attractive and vibrant downtown provides quality of life to the Graham community, helps recruit and retain industry and offers a place for small businesses to locate.

DAC is an acronym for the NC Main Street & Rural Planning Center’s program, Downtown Associate Community.

The Downtown Development Coordinator, Mary Faucette’s office is located at City Hall, 201 South Main Street, to contact her, 336.266.2248

The City of Graham was accepted into the DAC program in January 2020.  The plan of work is currently being developed.  Stay informed by attending schedule community meetings.

To learn more on how you can be involved with all that is happening in downtown Graham reach out to Mary Faucette, Downtown Development Coordinator, 336.266.2248.