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Fort Wayne Investing In Run-Down Homes in West Central

Downtown Fort Wayne is filled with historic homes and buildings some over one hundred years old. But some sit empty and beyond repair inside. The city is planning make changes to several west central homes. WFFT has more on this downtown revitalization project.
Downtown Fort Wayne is filled with historic homes and buildings some over one hundred years old.

But some sit empty and beyond repair inside.

The city is planning make changes to several west central homes.

WFFT has more on this downtown revitalization project.

This brick house behind me on the corner of Berry and Van Buren is one of eight in Fort Wayne's historic West Central district the city is buying up with a nearly half-million dollar grant- renovating- and bringing the community back to life.

"They are rental units. They were rentals when we bought them, and we expect they will probably stay rentals,” Deputy Director of Community Development Heather Presely-Cowen says.

The Fort Wayne Housing and Neighborhood Services is investing $402,000 on eight empty West Central homes.

Presely-cowen says they sought out existing rentals that were in sad shape- way beyond normal repair.

"Demolition in a historic district is not generally a good thing. We want to keep those homes standing, and if you look at these houses, they're gorgeous. Many of them look on the outside just like a place you would want to live. But when you look in the inside, not so much,” Presley-Cowen says.

"It's always a goal for west central and the association to keep homes, not tear them down, so anything that we can do to bring them back to a state where they can either earn income, if they stay rentals, or if they become a good owned property, we're for that partnership,” says West Central Neighborhood Association board president Susan Smethers.

Last year, housing and neighborhood services fixed four homes on West Wwashington Boulevard in a similar project.

Each home could take up to $100,000 in extra grants to renovate and would be split into rental units.

Now, they're working on bids for the next ninety days, and then the project could take another three to four months.

The homes could be open by the end of summer.

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