Applications Accepted September 25-November 17, 2023


The third round of the Auburn Downtown Revitalization Initiative Small Project Grant Fund (“DRI Grant Fund”) is intended to assist businesses and entrepreneurs in the DRI boundary.

DRI Grant Fund awards will be disbursed on a reimbursement basis, meaning that the project costs will need to be expended and documented prior to receiving the funds. Interim reimbursements may be possible at project milestones.

More detailed information about this program can be found in the Grant Fund Administrative Plan, which is available upon request or by visiting:


For-profit businesses (including entrepreneurs), property owners/developers, and non-profit entities may apply for the DRI Grant Fund. Additionally, to be awarded applicants and/or projects must:

  • Be located within the DRI boundary

  • Be locally owned (corporate chains and franchises are not eligible)
  • Be current on all federal, state, and local taxes
  • Abide by all relevant zoning, codes, permitting, design, or signage regulations and procedures
  • Demonstrate site control and, if renting, have approval from the property owner for any leasehold improvements
  • Show a plan for and/or documented commitment of financing for 100% of the project cost

Application Timeline

  • Program Launch: Monday, September 25, 2023
  • Information Session: October 2, 2023 @ 12pm (Hybrid) – View the Recording Here!
  • Information Session: October 19, 2023 @ 5:00pm (In-Person)– Register Here!
  • Review & Assistance Deadline: November 7, 2023
  • Submission Deadline: November 17, 2023
  • Scoring Review: Early December 2023

Application Assistance

For assistance with developing your application please contact:

Paul Viggiano:

Only inquiries and draft applications received prior to the Review & Assistance Deadline (November 7, 2023) will be guaranteed a response prior to the submission deadline (November 17, 2023). Inquiries and draft applications received after the Review & Assistance Deadline will only receive feedback and assistance as capacity allows.

Applications and relevant documents can be uploaded by visiting:  Instructions are included on the application form.

Application Categories & Eligible Uses

There are two categories of funding available within the DRI Grant Fund:

  Entrepreneurial Seed Funding Existing Business Assistance
Description Assistance for entrepreneurs and businesses operating for less than 1 year, with priority given to woman, minority, and veteran-owned. Assistance for existing businesses operating for more than 1 year.
Eligible Activities •   Interior and exterior renovations/leasehold improvements, with landlord approval

•   Includes building systems like plumbing, electrical, and HVAC

•   Signage

•   Soft costs (architecture, engineering, environmental testing)*

•   Permanent machinery and equipment

Amount Available Up to $50,000


See Match Requirements section below

Grant funds cannot exceed 80% of the total project cost.


Specific working capital is eligible for match.

Grant funds cannot exceed 70% of the total project cost.


Specific working capital is eligible for match.

*Soft costs incurred for work on buildings that eventually prove infeasible and do not receive other investments will not be reimbursed with DRI funds. Therefore, reimbursements for soft costs may not be requested as part of a partial payment prior to project completion.


Ineligible Activities

The following activities cannot be funded by the grant or used as match, unless specifically stated elsewhere in this overview:

  • Building acquisition costs; new construction (including in-fill buildings): site work or ancillary activities on a property including, but not limited to: septic systems/laterals, grading, parking lots, sidewalks, patios, decks, garages, sheds, landscaping, fences, free standing signs, general maintenance or repairs.
  • Improvements to structures owned by religious or private membership-based organizations: improvements to municipally-owned and municipally-operated buildings.
  • Furnishings, appliances, electronics, tools, disposable supplies, small non-permanent business equipment (computers, copiers, TV/computer screens, shredders, etc.).
  • Inventory: working capital (except what is noted as allowable under Match Requirements below) and non-permanent fixtures.
    • Vehicles or other rolling stock

Match Requirements

Applicant must submit an invoice on vendor letterhead and proof of payment (credit card or online payment receipt, cleared check copy, or an account statement which shows the withdrawal). Cash payments and hand-written receipts will not be accepted.

Eligible Costs for Match Ineligible Costs for Match

* Any of the eligible activities listed above


* In-kind costs


* Eligible Soft Costs


* Costs incurred prior to the grant award date


* Working capital expenses for entrepreneurs and existing businesses: rent, utilities, inventory, commercial and property insurance, licensing fees, capitalized website development costs (new or substantially upgraded website)



* Ineligible activities listed above

* Working capital expenses: general office/business supplies (paper, pens, general cleaning supplies, computers, etc.), non-capitalized advertising and marketing costs, payroll and related expenses



Awarded applicants will be required to pay a upfront project fee of $550. This will cover the cost of a site contamination assessment and zoning letter. At the successful completion of the project, this fee will be partially reimbursed (80% for entrepreneurs and 70% for existing businesses).

Summary Process for Awarded Applicants

Awarded applicants will have to follow specific processes and procedures in order to receive reimbursement. Please review this information to ensure that you will be able and willing to follow the rules and processes as required by the program if awarded.

Environmental Review  

Applicants will need to submit certain information regarding the environmental impacts of their projects. CEDA will submit this information to the State for review.



CEDA will work with awarded applicants to develop a contract with a formal scope of work that provides a detailed description of the project scope, use of funds, requirements, projected timeline, monitoring requirements, clawback provisions, and particular items that need to be addressed within the project.


Procurement & Bidding  

A minimum of two bids or proposals will be obtained and reviewed for all project costs, including but not limited to purchases, services and renovation, administration or professional service activities. CEDA will exercise appropriate oversight over the entire process to ensure that it is fair, efficient and free of actual and perceived conflicts of interest. The lowest responsible bid should be selected. If the property owner chooses other than the lowest bidder, reimbursement will be based on the amount of the lowest bid.


Contractor Selection for projects that include a renovation or leasehold improvement component  

Awarded projects must use electricians and plumbers certified to work in the City of Auburn, lists of which can be found on the City of Auburn Code Enforcement website. All contracted work for an awarded project must solicit bids/quotes through a Request for Proposals (RFP). All contractors must supply references and proof of proper insurance. All bidders must have equal access to relevant information, including information on the property itself. The bids or proposals for all activities must be submitted directly to CEDA by the contractor. CEDA will advise the property owner of acceptability of bids/proposed cost. CEDA shall select the lowest responsible bidder. If the property owner chooses other than the lowest bidder, reimbursement will be based on the amount of the lowest bid. The RFP and bid process must be free of conflict of interest in that a contractor cannot receive DRI funds for work done on property that he or she owns, or a property that is owned by an immediate family member. An immediate family member includes a spouse, son, daughter, stepson, stepdaughter, father, mother, stepfather, stepmother, brother, sister, grandfather, grandmother, grandson, granddaughter, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law or daughter-in-law.


MWBE & SDVOB Participation  

All projects will be required to make a good faith effort to utilize women-owned business enterprise (“MWBE”) certified firms in their project, as well as Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses (“SDVOBs”). CEDA will work with awarded applicants to identify firms to include in the bid process to meet this requirement.



For all projects, CEDA will conduct a final inspection to ensure that the project was completed in alignment with the contract. For projects including renovation or leasehold improvements, CEDA will perform periodic inspections of the renovation activities. Furthermore, renovation projects will be subject to a 3-year compliance period during which time the applicant could be subject to recapture of the grant if the building is sold or not appropriately maintained.


Documentation for Reimbursement  

For both reimbursable expenses and match, applicant must submit an invoice on vendor letterhead and proof of payment (credit card or online payment receipt, cleared check copy, or an account statement which shows the withdrawal). Cash payments and hand-written receipts will not be accepted.



We appreciate your support in promoting this opportunity!

Click here for a PDF flyer to share with your network and post in public places within the DRI Boundary.