Financial Incentives

Building Improvement Grant Program

The Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership (DFP) has created various grant programs to incentivize and leverage investment in Downtown Fond du Lac. These programs are primarily funded through a special assessment paid by the property owners themselves. The DFP Board of Directors has an obligation to the 214 property owners to invest in good, stable and financially feasible projects, with an end goal to raise the property values of the entire district. The Building Improvement Grant (BIG) is designed to incentivize property owners to undertake exterior property improvements, which will lead to increased property value and a better utilization of properties within Downtown Fond du Lac.

IGNITE! Entrepreneur Grant

The IGNITE! Entrepreneur Grant is an incentive to assist Fond du Lac County entrepreneurs with expenses associated with starting a new business. This can include any type of new business from a brick-and-mortar startup to a new invention. The IGNITE! Certification Program consists of entrepreneurs completing key milestone or business development steps with the guidance of an IGNITE! Coach. The first fifiteen entpreneurs who become IGNITE! Certified will be eligible for a $2,000 grant to be used to assist in starting their business.

National Exchange Bank & Trust Downtown FDL Loan Program

For Downtown Fond du Lac BID Properties

National Exchange Bank and Trust is pleased to offer Downtown Fond du Lac property and business owners the opportunity to secure financing at below-market interest rates in order to improve business space or rehabilitate residential space for market-rate housing.

Downtown Property Design Renderings

Downtown property design renderings are available to building owners or tenants. The property must be located within the Downtown Business Improvement District. As a free service from the Wisconsin Main Street (WMS) Program the renderings can be used before a building is purchased or leased in order to show the renovation possibilities of the property. With owner/tenant input the architect on staff at the WMS will design a renovation rendering based on historic photos and current condition of the building. Administered by the Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership. Contact Amy Hansen for more information.

Downtown Facade Design Assistance Grant

This grant program is available for building owners in the Downtown Business Improvement District. The grant will provide up to $2,000 in funding to assist in the research and design of façade improvements. 75% of design costs (architectural and historical research costs) are reimbursed when the design is complete and approved by the City of Fond du Lac’s Downtown Architectural Review Board. 25% balance is reimbursed upon completion of the project. Administered by the City of Fond du Lac Community Development Department.

City of Fond du Lac Economic Development Revolving Loan Program

Available to property owners or tenants. Maximum loan is $200,000 and minimum loan amount is $10,000. There must be at least one private dollar ($1.00) spent for each public dollar in the project. The general interest rate is zero to four (0-4%) percent for a maximum loan term of seven to ten (7-10) years. Eligible uses of funds include: property acquisition (loan recipient's business must occupy 50% of building), architectural fees, site preparation, machinery/equipment, and working capital. At least 51% of the jobs created must be available to low-and-moderate income persons. Up to $20,000 can be loaned for each full-time position created. The business must stay within the City of Fond du Lac for the term of the loan. Loan applicant must submit a business plan for review. Administered by the Fond du Lac County Economic Development Corporation. Contact FCEDC for more information.

Downtown Microenterprise Loan Program

Available to tenants in the Business Improvement District. Business must have five (5) or fewer employees, one of which is the owner of the business; or a person developing a microenterprise means an individual who has expressed interest in and who are, after initial screening process are expected to be actively working towards developing a business. The owner(s) of the microenterprise must be low-and-moderate income. Maximum loan amount is $50,000. Loans are provided to help establish, stabilize and expand microenterprises; or provide technical assistance, advice and business services to owners of microenterprises and persons developing microenterprises. The loan term is for seven to ten (7-10) years at zero (0%) interest. Administered by Fond du Lac County Economic Development Corporation. Contact FCEDC for more information.

Rental Rehabilitation Loan Program

Available to property owners. The loan program applies only to the residential units within a mixed-use building (no commercial rehabilitation). Maximum loan is $24,999 for the first unit and $5,000 for each additional unit. The building must have less than seven (7) units. The unit must be rented to low-and-moderate income persons. Rent limits apply. For example, a one bedroom unit cannot be rented for more than $490 per month (includes utilities). The loan is 0-4% interest, repayable over 15 years. Repayment starts within 6 months from the loan closing date. Administered by the City of Fond du Lac Community Development. Contact Dyann Benson for more information.

Business Resources

Downtown Fond du Lac Business Guides

Looking to open, relocate or expand your business? Downtown Fond du Lac is poised for dynamic growth that will impress you. Major investment by the public and private sectors are getting the attention of commercial and residential developers. Now is the time for you to consider downtown Fond du Lac as the place to expand your business.

Downtown Fond du Lac Design Guidelines

The Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership's Design Review Board has authored, "Design Guidelines, A Guide to Building Rehabilitation, Renovation and New Construction". The Design Guidelines are the result of collaborative work between the Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership's Design Review Board and the City of Fond du Lac Community Development Department. The guidelines will be used in evaluating DFP facade grant applications and for proposals for changes to downtown properties. It is the hope of the DFP that property and business owners will use these guidelines to make decisions that will enhance their property and the district overall.

IGNITE! Business Success

A Resource Network for Innovators and Entrepreneurs

It's all about who you know. We have a lot of WHOSs for you to know. IGNITE! Business Success is a network of 18 entrepreneurs resource providers who have rallied together to deliver a higher level of service consistency and support for start-ups and growing businesses in Fond du Lac County.

Business Improvement District (BID) Map

In 1999, the council received approval from downtown property owners to create a Business Improvement District (BID), and the initial Operating Plan was approved by the Fond du Lac City Council. District boundaries are, roughly, Main Street from Follett Street on the north to Ninth Street on the south, and encompassing several side streets east and west of Main.