Kendallville gets development grant

Article by Steve Garbacz of KPC Media

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs awarded five communities grants to help celebrate the first-ever Downtown Development Week.

The week of Oct. 8-12 will be an opportunity for communities across the state to host events to showcase their downtowns and encourage camaraderie through events and activities. Downtown Development Week will honor Indiana’s cities and towns’ commitment to preserve and invest in their downtown.

“We are excited to see so many communities take Downtown Development week, make it their own and plan some extraordinary events for their neighbors,” said Jodi Golden, executive director of OCRA.

Five projects were selected from 24 submitted applications and will receive a $1,000 grant.

Experience the Heart of Kendallville will be hosting various activities during Downtown Development Week to include storefront window decorating contest and a downtown celebration.

The development week is perfect timing for Kendallville, since it occurs right after the Kendallville Apple Festival, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lynette Leamon said. Merchants will be able to decorate their windows ahead of the apple fest at the fairgrounds and the downtown vintage market that runs in parallel and then a week-long voting period will open on Oct. 8.

“What we’re doing is purchasing some crates for the merchants downtown to dress up their windows for our fall harvest, for the fall theme, and we can go ahead and get everything decorated before our apple festival. This will get all of our windows decorated spruced up,” Leamon said.

Experience the Heart of Kendallville will also work with building owners who have vacant spaces to allow home-based business to take part by decorate windows in the empty storefronts, too, she said.

The city is also planning to do ribbon cuttings at downtown buildings that have benefited from the Kendallville Redevelopment Commission’s 50/50 facade matching grant and get owners to talk a bit about how they fixed up their buildings with the money.

On Oct. 12, the city will then host a wrap-up event at the parklet in front of the chamber office to announce winners of the decorating contest.