City officials are proposing changes to the City'€™s Brownfields Assistance Program. Under the plan, financial assistance would be available for the first time for individuals who invest in downtown housing. The program also promotes commercial and industrial investments. Fort Wayne'€™s Brownfields Assistance Program is designed to assist individuals looking to improve an area that has environmental contamination challenges.

The proposal will be presented to the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission at its meeting this afternoon. The meeting begins at 4:30 p.m. in the City-County Building Room 128.

The new plan calls for grants to assist multi-unit housing in the Downtown Improvement District (DID) and the North River area. This initiative would compliment the Downtown Blueprint to promote a vibrant downtown. Grants would also be available for commercial projects within City limits and industrial projects anywhere in the City except the DID and North River areas.

Grants include a maximum of $20,000 for environmental assessments and $30,000 for cleanup (remediation) for a total of $50,000 per project. The individual looking to make enhancements would be required to provide 20% in matching funds for assessments. A monetary match for remediation is not required. The individual wanting to make improvements must commit to redeveloping a particular site and provide a plan for redevelopment.

The existing program provides grants for assessments and loans for cleanup. Although the program has provided assistance for more than 20 projects, officials believe it is not reaching its maximum potential.

A plan to expand the boundaries of an Urban Renewal Area for the Renaissance Pointe development will also be considered. Renaissance Pointe calls for nearly 400 new homes, the rehabilitation of more than 100 existing homes, a greenway trail, and improved infrastructure. The Renaissance Pointe area is bounded by Creighton Avenueon the north, Pontiac Streeton the south, Hanna Streeton the west, and South Anthony Boulevardon the east. The development is scheduled to begin this fall.

In addition, the Redevelopment Commission will consider approving an agreement with the Allen County Public Library for the City to purchase property near Harrison Street and Washington Boulevardfor a future mixed-use development, which could include retail and housing. The mixed-use proposal is a key catalyst project in the Downtown Blueprint to revitalize downtown.