Strong Response Yields More Funding for Projects

Mayor Tom Henry today announced the recipients of the City'€™s first Commercial Façade Grant program with members of the business community along the North Anthony corridor.

“These grants are the realization of one of my goals I had while running for mayor,” said Mayor Tom Henry. “I wanted the City to do all we can to  “strengthen the heart” of our community, by making opportunities available to property owners in designated corridors to help them make their businesses more attractive for investment and commerce.”

The program made funds available to offset the costs of facades, signage, lighting, awnings, parking improvements, decorative fencing, and other enhancements owners may wish to make to their property.

The average matching amount of the grant was expected to be about $20,000. The program was so successful that the original $200,000 set aside to fund it was doubled to $400,000 at the mayor'€™s request. Projects had to be located in City Council-designated economic development target areas (EDTAs), several of which exist throughout the community.  

“As I said in my State of the City address, where we had hoped to make this a dollar-for-dollar matching grant program, our local businesses really stepped up and the end result is a 3 to 1 private-public funding----21 projects and $1.2 million investment,” said Mayor Henry. “Soon, work will begin on several corridors and gateways that is so much more than cosmetic: it'€™s the economics of the “first impression.”  The Mayor went on to say that when visitors come to Fort Wayne, they will see attractive business districts, and the message that sends is powerful. “Things are happening in Fort Wayne.” Mayor Henry said. “Business is good in Fort Wayne. That'€™s what we want our visitors---and our residents---to know.”

The original $200,000 would have funded eight of the requested projects; by doubling that fund, 21 projects have been approved. The internal committee evaluating the projects felt that the additional funds would help make an even greater corridor impact, offer greater leveraging with existing City projects, and provide a local economic stimulus for business.

Businesses with questions or wanting more information may call Julie Sanchez at 427-2147.