Eleven neighborhood associations have been awarded grants to improve their communities.
In 2018, the Community Development Division launched the Neighborhood Improvement Grant program, which is designed to support neighborhood projects that beautify public spaces and strengthen community involvement.
“In order for our community to be vibrant, we must continue to invest in our neighborhoods and make them welcoming and attractive places,” Mayor Tom Henry said in a statement announcing the grant recipients. “This program allows our neighborhood leaders to find innovative and creative ways to improve their public spaces and bring residents together.”
Grants up to $5,000 were available for registered Fort Wayne neighborhood associations or one of the City’s four area partnerships.
The grants are funded by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development. Neighborhoods with a majority of households at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income were eligible to apply.
Accepted projects needed to provide a capital improvement that enhances spaces within public view. Routine maintenance, social events or operating expenses were not eligible.
Community Development will evaluate the grant program after the projects are completed and will take lessons learned to improve the process in 2019, according to a statement from the city.
Bloomingdale Neighborhood received a grant for $5,000 for the installation of a 30-foot by 80-foot mural at 1434 Wells Street on the side of the former Linda Lou’s furniture store, which is being renovated into apartments and retail space. The mural will depict a wildlife scene in Fort Wayne at sunset and will include images of the confluence of the city’s three rivers and native flowers (representing the neighborhood’s history as a field of flowers).
Nebraska Neighborhood received a grant for $3,900 to install a new neighborhood marker that will also welcome visitors to the Historic West Main Street business district.
Lafayette Place Improvement Association received a grant for $3,707.78 to install a neighborhood marker at the intersection of Petit Avenue and Calhoun Street. In addition to the sign, the neighborhood will add landscaping to the once blighted vacant lot.
West Central Neighborhood received a grant for $5,000 for the fabrication and installation of more than a dozen pole-mounted signs to help identify and celebrate the neighborhood.
Southwest Area Partnership (working with the Packard Area Planning Alliance) received a grant for $1,526 for the fabrication and installation of a historical marker that recognizes the former Packard Piano and Organ Company. The marker will be located along Fairfield Avenue in Packard Park where the piano company factory once stood.
The Oxford Community Association received a grant for $5,000 to purchase and install a heating and air system for the Oxford Community Center. The building is currently undergoing extensive remodeling in order to better meet the needs of residents in Oxford.
The Historic Fairmont Neighborhood received a grant for $5,000 to install a mural on the side of Tasty Pizza on the corner of Fairfield Avenue and Maxine Drive.
The Pettit-Rudisill Neighborhood received a grant for $492.12 to replace an existing sign in a neighborhood-owned pocket park at the southeast corner of Rudisill Boulevard and Robinwood Drive.
The Historic South Wayne Neighborhood received a grant for $1,184 for the fabrication and installation of seven pole-mounted signs to celebrate and help identify the neighborhood.
Williams Woodland Park Neighborhood received a grant for $5,000 to collaborate with Simpson United Methodist Church to transform an underutilized parking lot into a recreational greenspace called Peace Park.
Mount Vernon Park Neighborhood received a grant for $4,800 for the fabrication and installation of two neighborhood markers.