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HDC promotes community development resources within the Historic District

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The Historic District Commission for the City of Rochester is working to promote community development resources within the Historic District.

Property owners within the downtown will be receiving a postcard outlining three programs they should consider to assist with general maintenance and upgrades. 


Lead Paint Remediation
Lead paint poisoning can be severe and irreversible. Rochester is considered a high-risk community for lead paint within its older housing stock, this can be found outside of Historic District properties as well. Paint containing lead was legal for sale until 1978. The older the home, the more layers of lead paint are likely to remain on woodwork, floors, doors, windows, and walls.

Grants & Deferred Loans are available to remove lead paint hazards and perform minor Health Home interventions in single-family homes and rental apartments built before 1978.

There is an average of $11,000 per unit (10% owner match required). About $2,000 may be available for other health and safety renovations as well. The City of Rochester currently offers matching funds for the state program. HUD rules and regulations apply and may include environmental reviews, DavisBacon minimum wage requirements, and Section 3 requirements. Click here to learn more about the New Hampshire Housing Program.

“Safe, quality, affordable housing is a priority for the Rochester Community Development Division, and we’re pleased to be able to make lead-free housing a little more affordable for our residents,” said Julian Long, Community Development Coordinator and Grants Manager.

For more information contact Julian Long at 603-335-7519 or julian.long@rochesternh.net.


Sign & Façade Program
Income-eligible businesses and building owners may be eligible for a matching grant for exterior improvements, new signs, or awnings. Funding is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Success stories have included a new sign and paint for Stitches Alterations & Needleworks.

Freedom Beauty Salon also received grants for two outdoor signs to increase the visibility of the salon after several customers noted their location was hard to find.

“As a new business, I really appreciate the support I received from the city’s Sign and Facade Program,” said Joanne Piazzi, owner of Stitches Alterations & Needleworks. “With my grant, I was able to pay for professional design services and for my shop’s signs, as well as for some of the paint for the building. The grant helped draw attention to my business and brighten up the downtown!”

Julian Long said, “Small business owners don’t always have the resources to buy a new sign or put up a fresh coat of paint, and the façade improvement program is here to help business owners save some money and to beautify our downtown.”

For more information contact Julian Long at 603-335-7519 or julian.long@rochesternh.net.


79e Downtown Revitalization Tax Incentive
Property tax incentive program is for building owners making significant improvements to downtown buildings.

“RSA 79-E is a property tax relief program that seeks to encourage investment in town centers and to rehabilitate under-utilized buildings within these areas,” said Jennifer Marsh, Economic Development. “The application process is made to the governing body by property owners deserving to make improvements that meet the RSA 79-E guidelines as well as address the public benefit test. In return, the governing body may provide tax relief at a pre-rehabilitation value for a period of time deciding by the governing body.”

Studley Flower Gardens is a historically significant structure in our downtown. In 2014 they invested approximately $300,000 to repair a deteriorating roof over their 1400 square foot retail section of the business. Studley’s also added moisture mitigation to the greenhouse and made improvements to their retail space.

“The project is completed and has recently returned to the tax rolls,” Marsh continued. “It’s a great example of a business utilizing the incentive.”

Molly Meulenbroek, owner of Studley’s Flower Garden said the 79-E incentive allowed Studley’s to make some major improvements to the building.

“Our retail space improvements created better efficiency in our business and enhanced our street-facing facade,” said Meulenbroek. “Without the 79-E we would have had to scale back the project. Throughout the planning process, the city was a great resource.”

For more information contact Jennifer Marsh at 603-509-1910 or jennifer.marsh@rochesternh.net

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