The City of Fort Wayne’s Commercial Façade Grant program continues to excel. I recently announced that 10 local organizations will receive 2018 Commercial Façade Grants to improve their properties. This year’s recipients are located in all quadrants of the city and are on well-traveled corridors.

The local businesses whose properties are receiving grants include Nyla Jean Properties (1434-1436 Wells St.), Hop River Brewing Company (1515 N. Harrison St.), Shady Nook (2834 Parnell Ave.), Media One (1530 Spy Run), Oxford Community Association (1421 Oxford St.), Saigon Restaurant (2006 S. Calhoun St.), Jones Auto Repair (1701 S. Anthony Blvd.), Reliable Cleaning (302 E. Wallace), Fairfield Heights (2018-2030 Fairfield Ave.) and Apex Consulting (1313 Broadway).

The City of Fort Wayne will invest a total of approximately $250,000 into the projects; collectively, the property owners have pledged to contribute more than $765,000 in private dollars on the façades of the buildings. This creates a private investment of $3 for every $1 in public investment. The façade investments will be used to do everything from install new windows to paint and add new stone exteriors.

I introduced the Commercial Façade Grant program in 2008 as part of my ongoing commitment to help local businesses thrive and expand, especially in the heart of Fort Wayne. 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.

We require applicants to provide a dollar-for-dollar match in order to receive the grant. The program has been so successful that from 2009 -2016, we’ve awarded approximately $1.7 million in grant funding, which leveraged more than $4.3 million of private investment toward improvements. A total of 90 projects have been completed since the program was introduced. In order to be eligible for a façade grant, a business must be located within one of our Economic Development Target Areas, which are commercial corridors that are more challenging to redevelop because of the age of the buildings.

I continue to be encouraged by the progress we’re seeing along our urban corridors. The 90 façade grant projects, plus the new ones, are transforming our business corridors and helping revitalize the surrounding neighborhoods.

In addition, public safety continues to be a top priority for my administration. Fire Chief Eric Lahey and I recently welcomed the Fort Wayne Fire Department’s 90th recruit class. We had 21 recruits start work on April 23. It’s a benefit for our community to be in position to have another academy class for the Fort Wayne Fire Department.

Public safety is a critical component to Fort Wayne being a successful city as the fire department provides excellent public safety services. We appreciate the department’s commitment and dedication to customer service, public outreach, education, and implementation of best practices.

The new recruit class demonstrates a commitment to providing excellent services to keep residents and businesses as safe as possible.

Tom Henry - Fort Wayne Mayor

A lifelong Fort Wayne resident, Mayor Thomas C. Henry is committed to public and community service. He was elected to his first term as Fort Wayne's Mayor November 6, 2007. Mayor Henry authors the "Message from the Mayor" column. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer