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Enjoy downtown events, explore our businesses, and get involved in promoting and preserving historic downtown Kendallville, Indiana!  

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Owners learn how to participate in $2M grant program

Photo by Steve Garbacz, courtesy of KPC Media.

About 45 stakeholders in downtown Kendallville properties and businesses came together at the Kendallville Chamber of Commerce meeting room on October 11 to hear more information about the $2 million PreservINg Main Street grant and how it might benefit them.

Attendees heard that the state agencies funding the grant are looking for a "wow factor" delivered through building improvements that retain the historic integrity of properties and are completed in ways that can be replicated in other communities. As a "pilot community", being able to replicate success is a significant responsibility for Kendallville.


  • Main Street district, downtown Kendallville

  • Permanent building improvements only (not signs, awnings, etc.)

  • Front and most visible facades (not backs of buildings)

  • Big transformations with high impact are preferable

  • 15% match required (35% less than the city's Facade Grant requirement)

  • No cap on funding available per project

  • Free consultations with an architect specializing in historic preservation is available and encouraged

  • Subject to design and contract terms from funders

  • Multiple contractor bids required


The timeline for projects was laid out in general terms. Design work will need to be completed over the winter months so that bids can go out in spring and construction can begin by summer. Work must be completed over the next two years. Properties looking to further explore projects are encouraged to reach out to Kristen Johnson at (260) 347-1554 as soon as possible.

Defining "historic"

Main Street consultant John Bry helped define for property owners how to approach "historic" upgrades, noting:

  • Renovations are not required to be 100% faithful to any specific period in history

  • Original features that have been destroyed do not need to be replaced

  • Portions of buildings lost to fire and demolished do not need to be rebuilt

  • Creative license is allowed to add back appropriate features

  • Removing false facades to reveal and restore historic facades is appropriate

  • Consultations with experts will be available to help identify appropriate renovations

Next steps

Some of the next steps outlined by Mayor SuzAnne Handshoe, who explained the objective is to provide guidance to protect properties and preserve the historic look and feel of downtown, include:

  • Establishing a historic preservation commission

  • Adopting a historic preservation ordinance

Sign up

Property and business owners within the eligible area who wish to explore possible projects, willing to cover 15% of costs, are asked to contact Kristen Johnson at (260) 347-1554 to be placed on a list for ongoing communications.


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