By Robin Culverwell

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A federally funded Storefront Improvement Program is facing an uncertain future because newly applied rules are making the projects more costly.

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This program offers owners of small businesses reimbursements of up to $15,000 for renovations, which can make their shop or restaurant or salon more inviting.

But Housing and Urban Development rules now require “prevailing wages” be paid and the paperwork is more cumbersome.

Beth McConnell is policy director with the city’s Association of Community Development Corporations. She says applications are down so far this year.

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“Some neighborhood based contractors are just saying, ‘I don’t even want to bid on the projects, because I don’t want to go through all that rigmarole.’ Some businesses are declining to apply.”

Since 2009 more than 380 businesses have benefited from this program.

Now, supporters are lobbying City Council and the Nutter administration for local funding.

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