The Town Council established the Moratz Façade Grant Improvement Program in 2003 (Res. No. 3336) as a way to promote the goals of the Uptown Renewal Plan. Specifically, the grant program aimed to assist property and business owners with the restoration of the historic building facades that play an important role in the overall charm and vitality of Uptown Normal. The program was in place through fiscal year 2007-08 and contributed to improvements such as the rehabilitation of storefronts, bay windows, stained glass transoms, entryways, and awnings.
To build on a new phase of significant construction, with the underpass, Trail East, and Trail West on the horizon, the Town Council restored funding in the amount of $75,000 for the façade grant program for fiscal year 2023-24.
The grant program is named for the Moratz brothers, who made a significant contribution to the architecture of Normal. Arthur F. Moratz designed the Art-Deco/Art-Moderne Normal Theater. The Town’s restoration of the theater to its original glory not only made national headlines in the 1990s but also served as an anchor for the Town’s revitalization effort in the rest of Uptown. Arthur’s older brother, Paul O. Moratz, was the architect for the Van Leer Mansion at 1301 S. Fell.