Kendalville approves three more facade grants

June 13th, 2019

By Steve Garbacz | KPC Media - The News Sun

Three more downtown buildings will be getting fixed up with financial help from Kendallville’s facade grant program.

On Wednesday morning, the Kendallville Redevelopment Commission OK’d three more facade grants for buildings containing Weible’s Paint and Wallpaper, Jeny’s Tacos and Antiques and More.

Since its inception, the facade grant program has helped building owners make more than $1 million in improvements downtown. This month, the redevelopment commission approved 50% grants for three smaller-scale projects.

At Weible’s, 106 S. Main St., owner John Pierce requested funds for the large awning on the front side of the building as well as money for two windows in the rear of the building.

The cost of a new gear roller for the retractable awning will cost $1,279.20, while the window replacements are running $1,412.64.

At Antiques and More, 227 S. Main St., the Kendallville Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council applied for a grant to complete stucco repair on the alley-facing wall. The youth council is trying to turn the alley into a new gathering space and has murals planned for the wall, but needs to repair the wall before it can be painted.

“It is part of the alley renovation and we’re very anxious to get started on the project and this is a first step we have to do,” youth advisory council sponsor Kristen Johnson said.

Board member Lance Harman raised an issue that typically the building owner is the one to apply or, if a tenant applies, has to have written approval from the owner. Mayor Suzanne Handshoe said she talked with the new owner — the building has recently been sold — and that he was OK with the plans. Harman asked the council get that OK in writing and submit it to the commission.

The board approved a grant for the $3,000 in stucco work. Johnson said the group will be back at a later date with another request for help paying for gutter lining, since the old gutters on the building leak, which is what has led to degradation of the stucco.

Last, Dep Hornberger submitted an application for money to do a roof repair on her building at 215 S. Main, which contains Jeny’s Tacos.

Hornberger said she wasn’t initially aware of the facade grant program, but once she learned about it, she applied and offered commission members high praise on Wednesday.

The roof repair, which will repair leaks in the back of the building, will cost $2,835. The commission approved a 50% grant for that project as well.

In other business, city engineer Scott Derby informed board members the city is reconsidering plans for trails along U.S. 6 after the city was not funded as part of a state Next Level Trails grant.

After talking with state selectors, they suggested the city’s project would be more attractive if it was actually larger in scope. Derby suggested the city could redesign the plans to take a 10-foot trail through the Friendly Village neighborhood instead of utilizing existing sidewalk and making a connection to a path on U.S. 6.

That plan, however, met some early opposition from Harman, who lives in Friendly Village and didn’t like the idea of a large path eating into his limited front yard space.

“Every place else it’s put in the back yard. I would not have a backyard-syndrome if it was back there. But in our front yard, taking one third of our front yard is not right,” Harman said.

Derby said it’s just an idea at this point and the city can re-evaluate whether it wants to take that approach or another.

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