Downtown Improvement Grant (DIG) Program

Downtown Council Bluffs plays an integral role in our city’s culture, history, and local economy and has served as a focal point of the Council Bluffs community for over 150 years. Investment in our city’s downtown is an investment in the quality of life and attractiveness of the City of Council Bluffs as a whole. 

The City of Council Bluffs is excited to offer financial assistance to eligible applicants and properties to help fund planning projects and physical improvements within the downtown area through the Downtown Improvement Grant (DIG) Program. The Downtown Improvement Grant (DIG) is a competitive, financial incentive program offered by the City of Council Bluffs Community Development Department for a limited amount of time that is designed to help eligible property and/or business owners make high quality, lasting improvements to the Downtown area.

Available Opportunities

The program is comprised of the following reimbursable matching grant opportunities:

  • Building Façade Improvement Grant
    • 50% reimbursable matching grant for funding of exterior façade improvements of up to $5,000 for minor projects and $25,000 for major projects
    • Eligible minor expenses include: signage, canopies, awnings, and/or exterior lighting
    • Eligible major expenses include: exterior building repairs, exterior painting, tuck-pointing and masonry repair, window and door repair/replacement, and/or storefront repair/replacement
  • Placemaking Grant
    • 50% reimbursable matching grant of up to $5,000 for projects that provide a sense of place and activate the public realm
    • Eligible expenses include, but are not limited to: outdoor furniture and/or wayfinding signage
  • Planning Grant
    • 50% reimbursable matching grant of up to $5,000 for pre-development or planning costs
    • Eligible expenses include: planning or market studies; professional design work, including architecture and engineering; surveys, nominations, and listings for the National Register of Historic Places; and/or development of historic district design standards
  • Other projects within the DIG program boundary that are not included in the above categories, but meet the objectives and priorities of the program shall be subject to review by Community Development Department staff to determine eligibility and available funding.

Please be advised that the program has limited funding available and not all projects that qualify will receive funding.

DIG Program Resources:

DIG Program Boundary Map (click to view larger)

DIG Program Boundary

Eligible Properties

Downtown property and/or business owners located within the DIG program boundary are eligible to apply. One and two-family uses are not eligible for the DIG program.

Ineligible Costs

The following items are not eligible for the DIG program:

  • Demolition
  • Off-street parking
  • Events
  • Salaries, personal expenses
  • Outdoor dining area lease fees
  • Rent, utilities, or other recurring overhead costs
  • Emergency building repairs and routine maintenance
  • Interior work that is not visible or has no impact on the public realm
  • Exterior modifications not visible from the public right-of-way
  • Financing of existing debt, working capital, non-capital equipment, and business inventory
  • Remedying code violations
  • Any project determined to detract from or be incompatible with the historic character of the downtown
  • Other costs determined to be in conflict with the goals and objectives of the DIG program

Program Administration

The program is administered by the Community Development Department on a quarterly basis. DIG applications shall be reviewed and grants shall be awarded in accordance with the schedule listed below. Applicants are required to have a pre-application meeting with Community Development Department staff prior to application submittal.


Application Window

Internal Application Review and Recipient Award 

1stJanuary-February 2023March 2023
2ndApril-May 2023June 2023
3rdJuly-August 2023September 2023
4thOctober-November 2023December 2023

Complete program details can be viewed in the Downtown Improvement Grant Program Detailed Overview Guide. If you have any questions or if you are ready to schedule your pre-application meeting, please reach out to one of our Planning Division staff: