Green Spot

Columbus Business Rebates

2024 APPLICATION WINDOW CLOSED. Check back in January 2025 for the next cycle!

Rebates Available for Green Infrastructure Projects in City of Columbus

Thank you for your interest in the Community Backyards business rebate program! Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District, Sustainable Columbus, and City of Columbus Department of Public Utilities are working together to promote more conservation practices on lands owned by businesses. Businesses and organizations make a significant amount of land use and management decisions in Central Ohio. We want to demonstrate that urban conservation projects can be done by businesses cost effectively and make a positive environmental impact. Why green infrastructure? Learn about the economic benefits here.

City of Columbus businesses and organizations are encouraged to participate and apply for up to a $2,500 reimbursement grant through Community Backyards! The rebate is available to legitimate businesses or nonprofit organizations. The organization or business must be a registered entity with the Ohio Secretary of State. Project location must be located within the City of Columbus per the Franklin County Auditor. Special consideration will be given to projects benefitting under served populations, and projects located within Columbus Opportunity ZonesCelebrateOne neighborhoods, and areas with less than 20% tree canopy cover per Columbus Recreation and Parks. Funds are limited and issued on a reimbursement basis only. No funds will be dispersed until the project is completed, and all documentation has been received. 

We held two information sessions on 2/6 and 2/21 combined with Franklin Soil & Water's other grant programs. You can view the slide deck here or watch the recording link here.

Who is eligible?

  • Project location must be within the City of Columbus per the Franklin County Auditor. Special consideration will be given to projects with public access or visibility. 
  • Recipient must be a legitimate business or organization (i.e. a 501c) that is registered with the Ohio Secretary of State. Individuals are not able to receive a business rebate. Fiscal sponsors are acceptable though. 
  • Project has NOT already received a grant from Franklin Soil and Water this year including Urban Agriculture Critical Infrastructure Grant, Mini Grant, or Tree Assistance Program Grant. 

Eligible Projects

  • Rainwater Collection Systems (cisterns, rain barrels, and more)
  • Native Plantings (tree planting, pollinator garden, etc.)
  • Rain Gardens
  • Permeable Pavement (only when replacing existing impervious surfaces) 
  • Other Green Infrastructure or Stormwater Retrofits 
Projects are NOT limited to one category. Meaning, you could do a rain barrel and a rain garden with one rebate! 

What is eligible for reimbursement? 

  • Native perennial plants, shrubs, and trees 
  • Mulch, compost, soil amendments
  • Rain barrel or cistern and diverter systems
  • Landscaping supplies (fabric, staples, edging, stones) 
  • Drainage hardware 
  • Permeable pavers (only eligible when replacing existing impervious surfaces)
  • Educational signage (cost must be 20% or less of the total reimbursement) 

What is NOT eligible for reimbursement?

  • Invasive, non-native, annual, herb, or vegetable plants
  • Sales tax 
  • Contractor, design, or consulting fees 
  • Administrative or salary costs 
  • Gifts or food 
  • Educational signage totaling more than 20% of the reimbursement cost 
  • Anything else deemed inappropriate by Franklin Soil and Water staff 

Interested? How It Works

  1. Submit a brief application detailing what the general project idea is and how it would benefit the community with an estimated budget. Application will be open March 1, 2024 - March 31, 2024.
  2. Awards will be selected and notified by April 15, 2024. Franklin Soil and Water staff will set up a site visit and walk the location with you and provide technical assistance and recommendations. An award agreement will be signed. Then, your project may proceed. 
  3. Project and documentation must be completed by November 15, 2024. A final site visit, all receipts, itemized budget, and a short 1-2 page final report must be submitted to Franklin Soil and Water by November 15. 
  4. Once approved, Franklin Soil and Water will issue a reimbursement check. 

Sign up for the business rebates email list

Important Things to Know

Funds are limited and subject to availability. Funds will only be dispersed on a reimbursement basis only. No funds will be issued before the project is completed. Sorry, only City of Columbus participates at this time. Only projects located within the City of Columbus are eligible. No other municipalities participate at this time. 
If your project receives another grant from Franklin Soil and Water (Conservation Mini Grant, Urban Ag Critical Infrastructure Grant, or the Columbus Tree Assistance Program Grant), your project will NOT be eligible for consideration for a business rebate within the same calendar year. For more information about Franklin Soil and Water's other grants, click here

All businesses who participate will be signed up as a City of Columbus GreenSpot member. By implementing a conservation project, you're already working to go green! Plus, the business rebate pilot program would not be possible without the help and funding from City of Columbus. Visit GreenSpot to learn more about sustainability and how you can be more green. P.S., they recognize and give out awards to businesses who do exceptional work in sustainability! 

Questions? Please contact the Franklin Soil & Water team at or call the office at 614-486-9613. Our office is open Monday-Friday, 8:30am-4:30pm. 

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