4 Warren buildings to get facelift

Gina Canady, who along with her husband Scott owns a building at 115 N. Wayne St., Warren, stands across the street from the structure which was granted a 2010 Facade Grant.
Gina Canady, who along with her husband Scott owns a building at 115 N. Wayne St., Warren, stands across the street from the structure which was granted a 2010 Facade Grant. Photo by Matt Murphy.

Four buildings in downtown Warren are getting a facelift, thanks to grants from the 2010 Façade Grant Program.

The Wagon Wheel Café, East of Chicago, Accent Interiors and Scott and Gina Canady all applied for, and received, the grants. The building owner fronts all costs of the work, and the town then reimburses the owner for half of the total cost.

Gina Canady, owner of the building at 115 N. Wayne St. along with her husband Scott, says that the couple plans to install windows on the third floor of the building that are now covered with plywood.

"We eventually want to refurbish the building and make it into apartments," Gina says.

The building itself is two separate buildings from the basement to the second floor. The third floor, however, is one large ballroom, and Gina says she envisions the third floor as being a reception hall someday.

"It's a beautiful building," she says, noting the hardwood flooring throughout the structure.
The Canadys bought the building four years ago and plan to have the building completely finished in the next two years.

Further up the street, at 217 N. Wayne, Julie Forney has plans to touch up the front of her building, home to the Wagon Wheel Café, co-owned with her husband. Forney says that the grant will allow her to tuckpoint, or even out the mortar of, bricks in the front of the building.

"These buildings are dinosaurs," Forney says. "We've been here for 25 years, and we haven't been able to do anything like this before. It's going to help the overall look of our town. We are able to do things for our buildings that we couldn't do alone."

Forney expects work to be started on her building sometime in the next few weeks as soon as her contractor is able.

At East of Chicago Pizza at 111 E. First St., owner Jeff Souder says he is using the grant money to make his building, a one-story newer structure, fit better with the rest of downtown.

"We want to make the building blend in a little more with the historic atmosphere of downtown," Souder says.

The East of Chicago plan is to add newer, larger awnings, paint the building in a color scheme that fits better with neighboring buildings, install new lighting fixtures on the outside of the building and install a new, wooden sign that is lit from the outside. Souder says he plans to have the renovations complete by July 1.
Similar improvements will be made at Accent Interiors, 301 N. Wayne St. Owner Vickie Grim says she plans to add new signage and lighting as well as a new awning to her shop.

"The Economic Development Committee has worked on this for several years," Grim says. "It's going to be a huge improvement for the downtown area."

Grim hopes to have the work on her building complete within the next two to three months.

The grants were funded through $15,000 in CEDIT money appropriated to the Warren Chamber of Commerce by the town of Warren. Applicants were able to receive up to $5,000 to go toward structural repairs, signage, lighting, awnings, paint or a combination of all of those.

Cammy Ackley, a member of the Warren Area Chamber of Commerce who was involved with the grant program says she hopes the town will have enough money next year to supply funding again.

"If people take an interest in fixing up older buildings ... hopefully it will snowball," Ackley says.

Complete caption: Gina Canady, who along with her husband Scott owns a building at 115 N. Wayne St., Warren, stands across the street from the structure which was granted a 2010 Facade Grant. The program reimburses the building owner for half of the work done on the building’s exterior.