Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry today announced that nine local organizations will receive 2019 Commercial Façade Grants to improve their properties. By year’s end, more than 100 facade grant projects will have been completed since the program began.
The local businesses whose properties are receiving grants include Antonuccio’s Italian Market and Wine Cellar (4011 S. Wayne St.), Broadway Aquatics (2426 Broadway), Clinton Corner (3506-3510 N. Clinton St.), Fort Wayne Outfitters (1004 Cass St.), Turnstone (3320 N. Clinton St.), Wells Boutique (1420 Wells St.), Wells Center (3674-3678 Wells St.), Wells Street Commercial (1736 Wells St.) and Windrose Urban Farm (1325 Lafayette St.).
The City will invest a total of just over $200,000 into the projects; collectively, the property owners have pledged to contribute more than 450,000 in private dollars on the façades of the buildings. In other words, the public grant dollars leveraged more than 2.25 times the amount of private investment in the façade projects. The improvements will include work such as: installing new windows, adding lighting, repairing brickwork, painting, repairing roofing and adding new signage.
“When I first introduced the Commercial Façade Grant program in 2008, I couldn’t have imagined such a positive impact on our urban corridors,” said Mayor Henry. “Once these 2019 projects are complete, we will have transformed the exteriors of more than 100 small businesses, helping them attract more customers as well as beautifying our corridors.”
Today’s news conference was held at Windrose Urban Farm, 1325 Lafayette St. The urban farm is operated by Windrose Learning, a local non-profit focused on developing innovative programs that offer career training and mentorship to disadvantaged young adults. The farm was started as a means to employ individuals with disabilities. The indoor farm currently grows several varieties of organic mushrooms, selling them to area restaurants as well as to consumers at local farmers markets. The façade grant will help beautify the farm’s warehouse with a colorful mural that will be visible from Lafayette Street.
Mayor Henry introduced the Commercial Façade Grant program in 2008 as part of his ongoing commitment to help local businesses thrive and expand, especially 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. 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.