Downtown Yorktown IN sees fun, fusion, funding

By Rick Yencer

YORKTOWN, IN (NEWS) -  It's looks like downtown Yorktown will get some new storefronts  this summer with government helping pay to improve the economy and even create some jobs.

 About $75,000 initially will be spent on grants to building owners to improve the exterior of their buildings. Just like Muncie DWNTWN and its $1 million building facade program, Yorktown is desperately trying to bring business to the Ind 32 Smith Street cooridor.

About 10 storefronts from the Dollar General Store to the Mutual and Old National banks are empty, including ones like the old Ross Store for years.

Yorktown Council, led by Bob Ratchford, a Muncie property manager and owner, decided to reinvent a facade program that also was suggested in a study of the town last year.

Ratchford bought property in Yorktown and has been encouraging others to invest the the community of nearly 15,000 people.

The rules for government grants is simple and is to Google Yorktown Indiana. Erin Hurley is the contact.

The town's redevelopment group wants to fund a $60,000 or more project with 40 percent while a couple of $15,000 jobs would be funded at 50 percent.

Hurley indicated no one has applied for money yet after the town announced the program last week. May 1 is the deadline for applying, and officials hope to see some business result from the program. A new sports facility moved into the old LifeStreams garage, bringing dozens of people to Smith Street.

Muncie just handed out another $1 million to DWNTWN property owners last year, and big projects like restoring the old Boyce Block that houses Muncie Civic Theater, and the old Roberts Hotel that is will be loft apartments this spring, got funded.

Vicki Veach, DWNTWN development director, told the story of five new businesses starting as more buildings were being restored and a new marketing campaign was underway.

About 20 years ago. Muncie invested in a facade program that restored landmarks like the IOOF Building and those that house Vera Mae's. Officials conservative estimated more than $25 million in invest from those projects.

 And an improved downtown for Muncie paid off recently when Courtyard By Marriott announced building a $25 million hotel next to the Horizon Convention.

Yorktown officials are hoping for more restaurants besides other retail for their downtown.