Main Street Oakland County downtowns may get facelifts, startups

A dozen Oakland County downtowns can apply for grants to improve historic building facades, install public art and a host of other eligible projects through a partnership with Main Street Oakland County and funded by Flagstar Bank.

At the same time, a similar partnership was created with Genisys Credit Union, which has funded the Spirit of Main Street Micro Business Startup Grant, to support the attraction, retention and growth of small businesses in 16 Main Street historic downtowns and commercial corridors that are served by the credit union. The maximum grant is $2,500 for each program and communities can apply to have multiple projects or businesses funded.

“Main Street Oakland County is one of our most successful programs, with Main Street downtowns generating $787 million in public and private investment, creating more than 7,600 jobs and establishing 1,100 new businesses,” County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “I applaud and thank Flagstar Bank and Genisys Credit Union for supporting the creation of new businesses in our downtowns while preserving the heritage that makes them so attractive and inviting to residents and visitors.”

Berkley, Clawson, Farmington, Ferndale, Franklin, Highland, Holly, Lake Orion, Ortonville, Oxford, Rochester, and Royal Oak are eligible to apply for the placemaking and facade grant. These communities, plus Auburn Hills, Clarkston, Pontiac, and Wixom, are eligible for the business startup grant. Pontiac has already received a $10,000 from Flagstar to administer its own placemaking and facade grant, said Main Street Oakland County coordinator John Bry.

Eligible Flagstar projects include preservation of historic resources, installation of public art, public markets or other public space activation, creation or renovation of pop-up retail space, wayfinding signage, placement of historic markers and streetscape enhancements. Deadline for grant applications is July 31.

Eligible Genisys activities are location renovations/preparation, signage, marketing materials/efforts, required permits and fee and other uses deemed appropriate to support the creation, relocation or expansion of a micro business. There is a rolling deadline for this grant.

Under the terms of each grant, a minimum dollar-for-dollar match must be provided by the applicant. Main Street Oakland County will provide architectural design services at no charge to grant applicants as requested. For more information and to find application forms, go to, click on the “Services & Trainings” tab.

Oakland County is the first and still only county in the United States to operate a full-service county-wide Main Street program. It is available to the county’s 32 historic downtowns, heritage corridors and mixed-use urban centers.

In 2017, public and private investment in Main Street Oakland County totaled more than $46 million and resulted in 258 net new jobs; 83 net new businesses; and volunteer contributions of more than 15,000 hours of volunteer time.

Main Street is a trademarked program of the National Main Street Center in Chicago. Auburn Hills, Berkley, Birmingham, Clarkston, Clawson, Farmington, Ferndale, Franklin, Groveland Township, Hazel Park, Highland Township, Holly, Holly Township, Lake Orion, Lathrup Village, Leonard, Oak Park, Ortonville, Oxford, Pontiac, Rochester, Royal Oak, South Lyon, Waterford Township, and Wixom comprise Main Street Oakland County.