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The Scoop

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Fort Wayne buildings get facelift grants

Statement issued Wednesday:

Fort Wayne, Ind. – Mayor Tom Henry announced today the awarding of nine commercial façade grants totaling $218,000 to enhance the exteriors of local businesses. The grants are being awarded thanks to a program created by Mayor Henry in 2008, as part of his ongoing commitment to help local businesses grow.

This is the fourth year the city has awarded façade grants.

“This program is making a difference by improving our store fronts, restoring pride in our neighborhoods and encouraging job growth,” Mayor Henry said, at a news conference at the Boys & Girls Club of Fort Wayne on Fairfield Avenue, a 2012 façade grant recipient. “This is a public-private partnership that works – and works well.”

The Commercial Façade Grant Program is designed to assist business owners in making improvements to the exterior of their commercial properties. The city requires applicants to provide matching funds in order to receive the grant. The program has been so successful that the city has seen a 3-to-1 return on its grant investment.

From 2009 to 2011, the city awarded $732,878 in grant funding, which leveraged $2.25 million of private investment towards improvements.

This year’s façade grant awardees will receive $218,500 in city funding and have pledged to contribute about $415,446 in private investment to make improvements on their properties.

The program has assisted all types of businesses, and has helped property owners revitalize business exteriors on Wells Street, Main Street, Calhoun Street, Taylor Street, Broadway and other highly-traveled corridors throughout the city. The façade grant-funded improvements have also inspired neighboring property owners to make improvements on their buildings.

The grants have helped to offset the costs of façade renovations, signage, lighting, awnings, parking improvements, decorative fencing and other enhancements.

In order to be eligible for a façade grant, a business or agency must be located within an Economic Development Target Area.

Business owners and residents have praised the program for helping to rejuvenate and highlight the uniqueness of neighborhood business corridors.

This year’s program aims to focus on local businesses, encourage entrepreneurship and help Fort Wayne cultivate its unique “local flavor.”

In addition to the Boys & Girls Club, other 2012 façade grant recipients are:

• Vintage Building, 2219 Broadway

• Mad Anthony Brewing/The Fairfield Shoppes, 2002- 2010 Fairfield Ave.

• A 1950s Diner on Wells Street, 1627 N. Wells St.

• Bushey’s, 1701 Fairfield Ave.

• Low Bob’s Discount Tobacco, 2740 Broadway

• South Anthony Medical Office Building, 5717 S. Anthony Blvd.

• Little Burma Asian Grocery, 3230 S. Calhoun St.

• Capstone Realty Property, 3241- 3249 N. Anthony Blvd.

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