Business Development

The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is continuously engaged in planning for various improvements that facilitate redevelopment of buildings and infrastructure, attract and retain businesses, and help make Downtown Iron Mountain a great place for celebrations, shopping, dining, and other activities.

The DDA’s Business Development Committee is a group of local business people, DDA staff and Board members, and other dedicated volunteers. The Committee meets 6 to 12 times per year to set goals, devise programs, and track progress for DDA programs and activities related to improving the physical appearance and business climate in Downtown Iron Mountain. 

The DDA raises funds through donations and events to fund a local grant program creating financial incentives for exterior building improvements within the Downtown District. The building improvements which the grant program brings to fruition advance the beautification of our downtown, preserve its rich history, and ultimately attract and retain businesses.

Building Improvement Grant (BIG) Program

In an effort to maintain and enhance the integrity of Downtown Iron Mountain properties and businesses, and to promote further growth and development within the City’s downtown commercial core, the City of Iron Mountain Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has created the Building Improvement Grant Program (BIG). The purpose of the BIG is to provide financial incentives and assistance to property owners wishing to complete various construction activities, and to encourage the revitalization of historic properties within the DDA district.

The BIG Program is a matching grant program that provides financial support to property owners for projects that enhance the aesthetic appearance and functionality of downtown buildings. Some projects may involve historic preservation, and the program may provide additional funds for those projects. The BIG Program replaces and combines two previous DDA grant programs: the Facade Restoration Grant and the Downtown Assistance Program (DAP) Grant. This was done to simplify the program descriptions, application processes, and evaluation criteria to apply to a range of possible building projects. As a result, the DDA aims to continue the historic preservation aspect of the previous Facade Grant program, where it applies, and also make understanding and applying for the grants easier for property owners.

The DDA has been providing grants to building owners for exterior improvements and historic preservation since 2009. Those grants, commonly referred to as “facade grants” in Iron Mountain and throughout Michigan, have been instrumental in the improvement of about 20 buildings within the Downtown District since 2009. The grants are all locally funded by the DDA with proceeds from festivals, events, and sponsorships. 

building facade restoration before
building facade restoration after
downtown assistance program iron mountain

Program funds up to 50% of proposed activity, or up to $10,000 per project, whichever is less.

Projects involving preservation of an historic building – built between 1880 and 1940 – are generally eligible for the largest amount of $10,000. Other projects will generally qualify for $4,000 to $10,000. 

The total allocation for this program is $20,000 per year, depending on fund availability, applications received, as well as review and consideration of all proposals by the DDA Board of Directors.

PLEASE NOTE: Submission of an application does not automatically guarantee funding, as the DDA Board of Directors reserves the right to make all decisions regarding grant awards. This will usually involve some deliberation on the overall merit of projects being considered for funding, part of which will be somewhat discretionary in nature rather than based solely on quantitative scoring or other rigid criteria.

Open for applications: Until March 29, 2024 at 4:00 PM
Grant panel: April 24, 2024 at 5:30pm
Grant Applicants Notified: May 15, 2024
Click the green button below to download the BIG program description and application

The Building Improvement Grant (BIG) program is opened for new applications in early January of every year, applications are usually closed around April 1 of each year, and grant awards are generally announced by late May or early June.

If you have any questions about the BIG program, please contact the DDA Program Coordinator at 906-774-8534 or

Get Involved!

Our Business Development Committee meets on the last Thursday of each month. This committee is made up of volunteers who discuss and implement our grant programs and share ideas for business growth and development in our downtown. Please contact us if you would like to get involved.

Downtown Iron Mountain, Michigan