Mayor Graham Richard today announced Kmart has received a $9,730 grant from the City of Fort Wayne for making façade improvements to its store on South Anthony Boulevard. Mayor Richard was joined by Kmart officials as well as members of the Southside Business Group and the City'€™s Southeast Area Development Strategy Advisory Committee.

Kmart participated in the City'€™s Southeast Retail Incentive (PRISE) Program that assists businesses in the southeast quadrant. PRISE stands for Prime Retail Incentives in Southeast. The program includes “Grow Southeast,” a grant program that provides a 50% funding match for façade upgrades. Kmart also invested $9,730 for a total of nearly $19,500.

Mayor Richard also announced that the PRISE program is expanding. Matching grants for commercial center owners have increased to up to $20,000 from the previous $10,000. In addition, the program now includes the entire southeast quadrant. The goal is to enhance the visual aesthetics of existing commercial businesses, improve marketability and attract new retail to the area. Investors and businesses interested in participating in the PRISE program should contact the City'€™s Redevelopment Department at 427-1127.

“There is positive momentum in southeast Fort Wayne as we work together to strengthen retail and housing opportunities,” said Mayor Richard. “Public-private partnerships and the commitment of residents enhance our ability to retain and attract businesses and jobs.”

Mayor Richard today also presented an interim report on the Southeast Area Development Strategy. City officials and leaders from the southeast quadrant are creating a guide for future growth focusing on housing and commercial redevelopment and new and infill development.

The strategy is at its halfway mark. Community input sessions were held in August. Since then, City personnel has conducted surveys, phone interviews and held meetings with southeast residents and current and former businesses to gather additional input on what types of development should be pursued.

Preliminary findings:

* Commercial development opportunities exist along South Anthony Boulevard, Pontiac

Street and Paulding Road
* Great services are being provided by southeast area businesses

* The image and perception of the southeast does not reflect the reality

* Housing and education issues need to be explored

* Existing small businesses need better support

* New small businesses need to be encouraged

* Positive neighborhood commercial and professional services are needed

* Southtown Centre and Renaissance Pointe are viewed as positive catalyst developments

A final draft report of the strategy is expected to be finished by the end of the year.