KENDALLVILLE — Downtown building owners will have a second opportunity to learn more about the $2 million PreservINg Main Street grant awarded to the city as well as pick up an application if they’re interested in moving forward on potential facade upgrades to their property.

The city will hosts its second informational meeting for property owners on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at City Hall, ahead of the city council meeting later that night.

“This meeting will provide additional information regarding the $2M PreservINg Main Street grant and the Preservation Commission being formed, and will also be your first opportunity to pick up a grant application,” Kendallville Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director and Experience the Heart of Kendallville President Kristen Johnson said in an email to building owners. “Because this is a pilot program, we are learning as we go. As such, we want to be sure we are communicating openly with property owners every step of the way — and also answering all of your questions. This will be a great opportunity to do both.”

Kendallville was selected as one of two communities receiving $2 million in grant dollars from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs for the brand new pilot program.

Kendallville was one of five finalists out of more than 25 communities that applied for what OCRA said was going to be a sole winner, but the state agency ended up awarding two grants with the other going to Brookville in southeast Indiana.

The PreservINg Main Street grant is aimed at preservation of historic downtowns in the state, with OCRA teaming with Indiana Landmarks and Indiana Humanities to assist communities in making preservationist improvements to their communities.

The city hosted its first informational meeting on Oct. 11 at the chamber offices, where building owners got some initial details about the scope of the grant.

At that meeting, they learned the grant money can only be used for facade upgrades on street-facing sides of their buildings — fronts or street-facing sides if they have a corner property — for renovations that will be permanent in nature meaning no signage or awnings will be included.

The city is also requiring building owners to contribute a 15% match for the cost of their project, which is a much lower entry than the Kendallville Redevelopment Commissions 50/50 facade grant program. The city asked building owners for buy-in at that level so they have some investment and ownership in the project, but kept the percentage fairly low in hopes of not discouraging people who might not be able to afford it.

Effectively, for every $1 a building owner invests, they’ll get about $6 in work from the grant.

Kendallville will need to hire an architect to do individual building designs for any that move forward, with the city estimating design fees could take up to $200,000, a tenth of the total grant amount.

The construction work, once designed, will be put out for competitive bidding in summer next year.

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(1) comment

rstolz

A huge kudos to Kendallville and the folks who took the initiative to get this grant against long odds! It’s almost “free money” for eligible merchants. Smart use of these funds can benefit not only the businesses that take advantage of the opportunity but entire community!

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