Mayor Tom Henry recently announced the ten businesses awarded commercial façade grants to enhance their buildings and surroundings. The Quimby Village Clyde Theater (The Clyde), Billie's Dugout and Born Again Quilts all located in the Waynedale vicinity were winners.
The commercial façade grant project allows businesses in targeted economic development areas to apply for funds to enhance their building's exterior and add/improve other amenities such as lighting, signage, awnings and address Americans with Disabilities (ADA) compliance issues. The grants reimburse up to 50% of the proposed costs. The program does require applicants to prove they have already invested in their property's enhancement to be eligible.
These three projects exemplify that both big and small projects can benefit.
I have never been in it, but I have been around Billy's Dugout for a very long time. Back in the '60s my family lived on Nuttman Avenue and we would often go to Packard Park and watch the girls play fast-pitch ball. Now that little bar is up for some big changes. Last year owner Billy Compton had $10,000 worth of interior improvements made at a fraction of the cost thanks to his loyal friends and customers who pitched in. Keeping its traditional English pub atmosphere the interior is now improved with new booths, paint and carpet. Now the exterior will be painted, and new signage and sidewalks will be added. The most widely anticipated improvement is the addition of the garden deck out back. With built -in seating, chairs, umbrella tables, and landscaped with native flowers, people will soon be able to take their beverages, sit, relax and enjoy a clear view of the softball games across the street on long summer nights. It doesn't get better than that!
Born Again Quilts tucked away in the Southwood Park neighborhood is looking forward to new energy efficient laminated storefront windows that will cut down on the UV rays that can be so damaging to fabric. The faux stone work below the windows will be removed and replaced with brick similar to the original. Although it is only a one four-inch step, it is one step too many for people with disabilities to access the studio so a ramp will be added. A new door rounds out the projects.
So over the summer when you are out and about take a look, stop by and see what your local small businesses are doing with the assistance of the City of Fort Wayne to spruce up your neighborhood and make it a more attractive place.
The City of Fort Wayne encourages Waynedale area businesses to apply for the 2014 grant program. Contact Aliza Tourkow Redevelopment Specialist - Grants Administrator
Lois Eubank is the owner of Born Again Quilts. She can be contacted through her author profile on thewaynedalenews.com