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Since 2016, the Appearance Commission has offered Matching Grant money for Public Beautification Projects in Polk County. The typical grant range is $1,000 - $2,500.


The Commission recommends that each applying agency match the total grant request by at least 25% cash. Since this is a dollar-for-dollar matching grant, the balance of any grant request not matched in cash can be remedied with in-kind labor. The Commission welcomes any nonprofit agency to apply, and they will be considered regardless if they don’t meet the above recommendations.


We encourage community and civic leaders throughout the county to continue the traditions of tasteful landscaping, building design and creative beautification that have always made Polk County a special place to live and visit.


The criteria for receiving a Matching Grant are as follows:

  • Property used by and for the public

  • Street Appearance

  • Public Enhancement


Examples of types of improvements that may be awarded a Matching Grant are:

  • Tasteful landscaping with native trees, shrubs and flowers

  • Structural improvements to buildings – These include exterior renovations that are visible from the street or sidewalk. Signage, awnings,             planters, water features and similar architectural elements are also eligible.

  • Public art including outdoor sculpture and exterior murals

  • Well maintained public properties that offer exceptional opportunity for citizens and visitors to enjoy the beauty of nature and our surroundings may also be considered

  • “In Kind” work by participants of the project may be used by applicants for matching funds


Examples of previous beautification enhancements that have received grants from the Appearance Commission are:

  • Maple tree in the fountain planter bed of St. Luke’s Plaza

  • Artistic recycle bins on the sidewalk of Saluda

  • Landscaping and plant maintenance in front of the Polk County Courthouse in Columbus


Application submission for Matching Grants opens October 15, at which time funds will be reviewed on a rolling basis until all funds are allocated.


Funds are limited and applicants will be reviewed in the order received.

The Final Grant Report must be submitted no later than May 31, 2024


Detailed budget including dated, itemized quotes for products to be purchased, and, if any, in-kind work expected (# volunteers X # of hours @$25 per hour)


This must be submitted with proof of monies spent, receipts for expenses and photos of the finished work included. 

Grant application forms can be downloaded below and emailed to . You may also mail to:

PCAC, P.O. Box 308, Columbus, NC 28722  or drop off at the Womack Building in Columbus at the County Manager's Office. 

All work performed must be in compliance with existing city, county, and state codes, utility safety procedures, etc. Be mindful of your plant choices and please do not add to the issue of invasive plants in our County. When restoring and changing gardens please try to integrate, retain, or repurpose native plant(s) that will be impacted.

We look forward to your Matching Grant application for a Polk County that is Clean, Beautiful, and Inviting.

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