Facade Grant Program Revitalizes Fort Wayne

By BROOKE WELCH | bwelch@wfft.com

Published 03/06 2014 01:44PM

Updated 03/06 2014 02:01PM

Revitalizing Fort Wayne means making rundown and unattractive neighborhoods a better place to work and live.  The Facade Grant Program strives to do just that by helping small businesses make their buildings more desirable.

Since 2008, 63 buildings have had their exteriors restored.  WFFT's Brooke Welch now has the 2014 Commercial Facade Grant winners.

"First of all, small businesses are the largest employer in our community."

Mayor Tom Henry explains why helping small business owners achieve success is so vital to the Fort Wayne economy.

"Small business men and women don't have to be here because they are small.  They are very mobile and they can be anywhere they want and they choose to be in Fort Wayne."

To be chosen, businesses must meet certain criteria and also agree to spend additional funds of their own to fix the facade of their building.  Roger Coe is with Coe Heating and Air Conditioning.

"We were very excited.  It was something we were wanting to do with our building, and it needs it so this helped make it all come together."

Tek Venture just started moving into 1800 Broadway 2 months ago.  Company President Gregory Jacobs says, "repairing that really nice ceramic brick, trying to figure out how to restore that if possible and at least enhance it in such a way that the original character of the building really comes forth."

In total, 13 businesses were granted funds.  Here are a few of the others.
The 1925 South Calhoun building.
The 2228 South Calhoun building.
Anthony Wayne Village Shopping Center.
Arch's 520 Tennessee building.
Colony Shops of Waynedale on Bluffton Rd.
Broadway Joe's "New to You" building.
Historic Rialto Theater.
Anthony Medical building.
Waynedale News building.
Curly's Village Inn on Bluffton Rd.

To qualify for the grant, applicants must agree to match the funds given to them by the city and their business has to be located within one of the city's economic development target areas.  This year the city gave over $300 thousand in funding for the improvements.

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