VW Forward Launches Phase One of a Multi-year Plan Powered by Supporting Organizations

Van Wert Forward is pleased to announce the official inauguration of the restoration and preservation of core building assets in downtown Van Wert. The organization is vision-driven by The Van Wert County Foundation, along with the collective efforts of many other community partners. Planning efforts began in mid-2019 to preserve and restore downtown Van Wert’s historic assets, infuse energy into the community, spur downtown revitalization and investment, create new, welcoming, multi-use spaces, and positively impact the quality of life for generations to come. Over fifty properties are slated for eventual transformation. The project will develop in multiple phases. Phase One includes eleven parcels and will be completed within 18 months. 

A formal kickoff event will be held on Saturday, September 25 at 6:30 pm in front of the former Oddfellows Lodge, 101 E. Main St., one of the properties scheduled for renovation in Phase One. Attendees will have the opportunity to visit the site for the plan’s launch and will have the opportunity to include a signed note in a time capsule that will be inserted in a memorial column to be erected during the project. 

Phase One is expected to be an investment of over $26 million. Initial funding began with a grant from The  National Park Service’s Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grant, through Heritage Ohio for the installation of an elevator in the former Oddfellows Building. The remaining capital investment is funded through a Vibrant Communities Grant from Jobs Ohio, State and Federal Historic Tax Credits, State and Federal New Market Tax Credits, and local equity investment by The Van Wert County Foundation and other investment partners.

Project manager, Hall Block, explains his excitement for the project’s commencement, saying  “The Foundation and Van Wert Forward staff are thrilled to move into this next stage of development. After many months of planning, designing, and then redesigning, the project is prepared to begin tangible progress. None of this would be possible without our local partners working alongside, and the community supporting us the whole way.” 

For questions and comments regarding Van Wert Forward, please contact Hall Block at (419) 238-1743 or at hall@vanwertcountyfoundation.org.