Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry today announced that nine local organizations will receive 2017 Commercial Façade Grants to improve their properties. This year’s recipients are all located on well-traveled urban corridors that the City is working to revitalize.
The local organizations include Ziegler’s Window Coverings, Legacy Heating & Air Conditioning, 07 Pub, Shine and Hardin LLP, St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store, Headwaters Counseling, Tom Steele Tires, Punch Films and Yellow Retirement Communities. Together, they will receive approximately $218,000 in City funding and have pledged to contribute just more than $938,000 in private investment to do everything from install new windows to paint and add new stone exteriors.
“Locally owned and operated businesses are essential to Fort Wayne’s economic success,” said Mayor Henry. “This façade grant program helps these smaller enterprises continue to succeed and provide jobs for residents. I am encouraged by the positive momentum and investments we’re seeing on key urban corridors and throughout our community.”
Today’s news conference was held at Punch Films, 200 6th St., just north of the St. Marys River and near the planned first phase of riverfront development. Punch Films just recently moved in to the previously vacant building and is renovating it in order to lease space to other businesses. The façade grant will help Punch Films clean and tuck point the exterior brick and stonework, and replace all the windows on the south elevation.
“As a small business owner, I appreciate the support from the City of Fort Wayne,” said Derek Devine, owner of Punch Films. “This grant will help us invest in our building and strengthen the neighborhood.”
Mayor Henry introduced the Commercial Façade Grant program in 2008 as part of his ongoing commitment to help local businesses thrive and expand, particularly in the heart of the City. The program is designed to assist business owners in making improvements to the exterior of their commercial properties. Enhancements can include new siding, architectural features, signage, lighting, awnings, parking improvements, decorative fencing and more.
The City requires applicants to provide a dollar-for-dollar match in order to receive the grant. The program has been so successful that from 2009 -2016, the City has awarded approximately $1.5 million in grant funding, which leveraged more than $3.8 million of private investment toward improvements. A total of 83 projects have been completed since the program was introduced. In order to be eligible for a façade grant, a business must be located within one of the City’s Economic Development Target Areas, which are commercial corridors that are more challenging to redevelop because of the age of the buildings.