Central Indiana’s 180 Makeover Grant Program Accepting Proposals to Revitalize Historic Downtowns

Proposals to transform historic downtowns due on November 30.

The 180 Makeover Grant Program, a transformative initiative to rejuvenate historic downtowns across Central Indiana, is now accepting project proposals through November 30, 2023. This regional program, part of the 180 Alliance Region serving Boone, Johnson, Montgomery, Morgan, and Putnam Counties, has allocated funding to the Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) to support downtown and small-town redevelopment projects. Each county in the region will have access to grants of up to $404,200 to fund eligible improvements.

"As a component of the 180 Alliance READI portfolio, the 180 Makeover program will provide communities in Boone, Johnson, Morgan, Montgomery, and Putnam Counties an opportunity to invest in their downtowns with matching READI funds and support from the Indy Partnership and Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) to implement the program within the READI guidelines," said Rose Scovel, AICP, Principal Planner, Indianapolis MPO. "This is a wonderful opportunity to make investments that elevate our places for talent attraction, worker and resident retention, and increased regional tourism."

The 180 Makeover Grant Program seeks to breathe new life into downtown areas, promoting economic development, enhancing community spaces, and preserving the rich history of these districts. Eligible projects encompass a wide range of improvements, including building renovations, blight elimination, public space enhancements, and downtown revitalization initiatives. By investing in these communities, the program aims to create vibrant, inviting, and economically thriving downtowns that will serve as anchors for local residents and visitors alike.

Marlon Webb, Senior Director of Regional Economic Development with the Indy Chamber, expressed enthusiasm for the program, stating, "The 180 Makeover Grant Program is a significant opportunity for Central Indiana communities to revitalize their downtown areas. By providing funding for essential improvements, we aim to create a more attractive and vibrant environment that will foster economic growth and community pride."

The 180 Makeover Grant Program provides an unprecedented opportunity for Central Indiana communities to enhance their historic downtown areas. The program is committed to fostering collaboration between local governments, businesses, and community organizations to create dynamic, inclusive spaces that celebrate the region's heritage while ushering in a new era of prosperity.

Key Eligible Projects Include:

Building Renovation:

  • Façade improvements
  • Roof replacement
  • Structural improvements
  • HVAC replacement
  • Electrical improvements
  • Tenant fit-out
  • Office relocation to upper stories to allow first-floor restaurant/retail use.
  • Blight Elimination:

Public Space:

  • Downtown parks and improvements
  • Stage/event space
  • Pocket park

Downtown Revitalization:

  • Sidewalks
  • Streetscape
  • Street furnishings

Molly Whitehead, Executive Director of Boone County Economic Development Corp, echoed Webb's sentiment: "This program aligns perfectly with our mission of promoting economic development in Boone County. It offers our communities the chance to undertake transformative projects to revitalize our historic downtowns and strengthen our local economies."

Interested communities and organizations are encouraged to submit their project proposals by Thursday, November 30, to their respective Local Economic Development Organization (LEDO). Grant awards will be announced January 2024, with agreements ready by early Spring 2024. Detailed information about the application process, eligibility criteria, and program guidelines can be provided by those LEDO partners.

For further information or media inquiries, please contact Marlon Webb at [email protected].


Launched by Gov. Holcomb and led by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), READI encourages regional collaboration and data-driven, long-term planning that will attract and retain talent in Indiana. The $500 million READI fund was passed by legislation during the 2021 session and was divided among 17 regions. Through READI, 17 regions across the state that represent all 92 counties are moving forward with projects and programs designed to enhance Indiana's regions for current and future generations of Hoosiers. Collectively, the state's $500 million investment is expected to yield an additional $9.86 billion public, private, and nonprofit dollars invested (19.72:1 investment leverage ratio) in enhancing Indiana's quality of life, quality of place, and quality of opportunity.

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