Press release from the City:
Fort Wayne to use $2.5 million Energy Block Grant for municipal building, revolving loan, residential outreach
Balanced approach serves industry, consumers, taxpayers while creating, retaining local jobs
The City of Fort Wayne is putting together implementation plans for the City’s $2.474 million portion of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program, which is part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.
“The City of Fort Wayne’s application took a balanced approach to the funding, enabling City government, business and industry, and residents to receive benefit from these dollars,” Mayor Tom Henry said. “This stimulus money is going to have the value of creating and retaining local jobs while also improving energy efficiency and ultimately saving money for Fort Wayne taxpayers, businesses and residents.”
Approximately half the grant will go to energy efficiency improvements to 200 E. Berry St. or other City buildings. Although the list of improvements is still being finalized for the Berry Street building, it is likely to include replacement of the chiller and cooling tower and improvements to the boiler system. These upgrades could result in an energy-cost savings of $600,000 annually for the City. Mayor Henry anticipates much this work will go to local contractors employing Fort Wayne area residents.
Twenty percent of the grant, about $494,880, will be placed in a revolving loan fund to encourage commercial and industrial facilities to install energy-efficient equipment. A task force is currently establishing guidelines for the program. The Community Development Corp. of Northeast Indiana will administer the funding, which should be available by May.
The remaining money will go toward residential outreach and create a new position at the City to help Fort Wayne residents, especially those from low- to moderate-income households, reduce their energy consumption. The City also plans to create a refrigerator and freezer rebate program to remove older appliances and replace them with more energy-efficient versions. The tactics for each of these programs are being developed.
The grant will fund the new job for two years. The position will work on education and outreach plus tracking energy use in Fort Wayne.
The U.S. Department of Energy calculates that for every $95,000 of grant money spent, a job is created or retained. By those guidelines, Fort Wayne’s energy block grant award represents 56 local jobs created or retained.