Watertown for Life!

Goals of the Program

The Watertown for Life! program seeks to incentivize the private investment in aging housing stock within the community. Private investment in major improvements will make homes more functional for those who wish to age in place or to meet the needs of contemporary home owners. Additionally, promoting reinvestment in aging housing stock will encourage additional investment from surrounding properties, revitalize neighborhoods, and encourage high quality, highly aesthetic elements that increase the value of local homes.

Eligible Properties & Applicants

  • Eligible home must be at least 35 years old.
  • Must be a current home owner in Watertown (even if just recently bought)
  • Must maintain homestead status at the proposed remodeled home and be current with property taxes and utility bills for at least 12 months
  • Must reside at the home to be remodeled as their primary residence
  • The property will no longer be enrolled in the program if the property is
    • Becomes non-homesteaded
    • No longer the participant’s primary residence
    • Rented out prior to project completion
    • Sold

Eligible Projects

In order to qualify, total project cost must exceed $10,000 and the scope must include at least one of the following project types:

  • Addition of living space:
    • Building an addition to the house
    • Building a covered front porch and/or enclosed entry (decks are not eligible)
    • Building a sun room as defined by building code
    • Conversion of garage space into living space, and in this scenario, replacement of a new garage is eligible
    • Finishing previously unfinished space in the basement or attic
  • Major remodeling:
    • Major kitchen, bathrooms or basement remodels, addition of a new bathroom, or reconfiguration (moving around of walls) of existing rooms

Other types of improvements such as but not limited to siding, windows, mechanical updates, and roofs will qualify, but only in conjunction with one or more of the eligible improvements listed above.

Grant Funding

Applicants can be eligible to receive up to $5,000 in grant funds depending on the scope of project. Grant funds will be disbursed upon satisfactory completion of the project and submission of project invoices and expenses. The minimum value of improvements made must be $10,000 and will be verified by the City’s building official.

Eligible Exterior Upgrades

Grant funds equal to 10% of the project cost, not to exceed $5,000 will be made available upon satisfactory completion of eligible projects listed above that also include two or more exterior upgrades that include:

  • Adding shakes, brick, or stone on the front of the house
  • Altering the roof line on the front elevation
  • Building columns on the front of the home or making existing columns more substantial and architectural in style
  • Constructing a covered front porch
  • Driveway surfacing using bituminous or concrete if currently rock, grass, etc.
  • Landscaping (professionally designed project)
  • Replacing and upgrading the front door (including color) and/or garage door (if it faces the street)
  • Other curb appeal elements as approved

Projects that do not include two or more exterior project elements will be eligible for up to 5% of the project cost, not to exceed $2,500 in grant funds depending upon the scope of the project.

Prior Consultation

All applicants will be required to have a two hour consultation from an approved architect prior to approval of their project. The applicant will pay $25 for this consultation with the City contributing $225 toward the consultation. 

Applicants who wish to have their own architect can have them registered with the City in order to receive reimbursement.

Permit Fee Rebate

The City will also rebate 50% of building permit fees associated with an approved project upon satisfactory completion.

Further Information

For more information please contact City Administrator Shane Fineran via email or at 952-955-2690.

Application & Details