Ten local organizations will receive a share of $250,000 in commercial facade grants from the city of Fort Wayne this year, Mayor Tom Henry announced Thursday.
The investments, which require a dollar-for-dollar match from the applicant, will be used to upgrade the buildings' exteriors with new windows, fresh paint and new stonework. The organizations receiving grants this year include Nyla Jean Properties, 1434-1436 Wells St.; Hop River Brewing Company, 1515 N. Harrison St.; Shady Nook, 2834 Parnell Ave.; Media One, 1530 Spy Run Ave.; Oxford Community Association, 1421 Oxford St.; Saigon Restaurant, 2006 S. Calhoun St.; Jones Auto Repair, 1701 S. Anthony Blvd.; Reliable Cleaning, 302 E. Wallace; Fairfield Heights, 2018-2030 Fairfield Ave.; and Apex Consulting, 1313 Broadway.
From 2009 to 2016, the city has awarded about $1.7 million in facade grant funds. Ninety projects have been completed since then. To be eligible, businesses must be located within one of Fort Wayne's economic development target areas – commercial corridors that are more challenging to redevelop.
“It's terribly exciting to be able to make these announcements every year because what that tells us is not only are people investing in businesses, but they've decided to put those businesses in Fort Wayne,” Henry said.
Collectively, the 10 recipients have pledged more than $765,000 in matching funds for the facade work. That translates to roughly a three-to-one match. Hop River Brewing will use the funds it receives to repair damaged brick on the exterior of the previously vacant building and add lighting and awnings to provide better aesthetics and safety. Hop River will also replace a fence topped with barbed wire and create space for landscaping. There are also plans to install a new roll-up door with a glass section.
“From our perspective, the facade grant program that the city runs is invaluable for companies like ours that help continue the revitalization of downtown,” Ben Jackson, co-owner of Hop River Brewing Company, said.