Today, the Hamilton County Development Authority (HCDA) announced the pilot program of a Commercial Beautification Micro-Grant Program aimed at improving the visual appearance of businesses in Hamilton County. The micro-grant program will provide matching funds to renovate and improve the visual impact of the properties in the county. This grant is available to all retail, commercial and industrial property owners.

“Hamilton County serves as an important gateway to Florida along Interstates 75 and 10 for both tourists and massive distribution routes. Assisting area businesses through the grant program has the power to make Hamilton County even more economically vibrant and aesthetically appealing,” said Susan Ramsey, Executive Director of the HCDA.”

The board of the HCDA has authorized a budget of $25,000 for the initial pilot program with eligible businesses able to receive up to $1,000 in matching funds. The funds can be used for improvements such as beautification purposes for such things as exterior painting, new awnings, sign improvements, planting shrubs, flowers, trees, etc. Applications will be available in the coming week but no application will be accepted before April 1.

Due to the pilot nature of the program and limited funds available the focus for this round of funding will focus on projects that will visually enhance the county. As the program progresses and success is measured, the HCDA will conduct a survey of businesses to enhance and/or refine the program.

Ultimately, the goal of the micro-grants is to help stimulate redevelopment and increase property values while providing safe and attractive environments for workers, businesses and the public overall.

Facts about the Commercial Beautification Micro-Grant Program:

  • The application period will run from April 1 – June 30 with grants awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis until all funds are encumbered.
  • Up to $1,000 is available to any Hamilton County business as a dollar-for-dollar match. Businesses can apply for any amount up to, and including, $1,000.
  • The funds can be used for any exterior beautification including plants, trees, shrubs, exterior paint, exterior doors/windows, awnings, etc.
  • Once the application is approved, businesses have 90 days to complete the project. Grant awards will be distributed after documentation of project completion is provided including before and after photos.
  • If the business leases their property, the property owner must give written approval for the upgrades.

Important Dates & Details:

  • Applications will be available XXX by emailing Susan Ramsey at
  • Applications will be accepted beginning April 1.
  • Projects have 90 days to complete work in order to be reimbursed.
  • Application period closes June 30.

The micro-grant program was developed as a result of the HCDA’s Strategic Overview and Marketing Plan developed by VisionFirst Advisors which identified key actions to be implemented to better position the County for greater economic development success and prosperity.