Ortiz Pu-Folkes suggests that even if you don't have the funds to have a complete facade program, "micro-loans" for fixing up signage can achieve a lot:
"For $2,500 - $5,000, you can fund attractive signs that make a significant difference to the overall look and feel of the district."
Primarily she writes from the point of view of the business owner, who wants access to facade grants but gets frustrated with the process:
"...the match has to be significant enough to make the application and paperwork worth it. Otherwise, most business owners won't want to deal with the hassle."