BY ED GEBERT
Times Bulletin Editor
egebert@timesbulletin.com

VAN WERT -- Main Street Van Wert was a couple of blocks south of Main St. Monday night as the organization presented its 2014 annual dinner at the Wassenberg Art Center. The historic armory building which opened in 1939 was featured in the evening's program with Steve Whitcraft speaking about the past years of the structure, and Wassenberg Art Center Director Hope Wallace speaking about the renovation of the building to become an art center,

After dinner had concluded, Main Street Program Manager Adm Ries recapped the past year for the organization and for downtown Van Wert in general. The organization is celebrating 10 years of improving and promoting the downtown area. Ries noted that in 2013, nine new businesses opened downtown, creating 13 new full-time and part-time jobs. Over $1.3 million was reinested into the buildings and properties in the downtown district.

Ries stressed, "I took some time this past week to summarize the reinvestment into downtown since 2004, when this organization adopted the model of the National Main Street Center, and received the title of an Ohio Main Stree Community. Over the last decade, with help from our city and county, as well as multiple grants of different sizes, and an immense amount of private rehabilitation work, our community has seen over $6.1 million put back into more than 40 individual private buildings and properties, as well as public infrastructure, downtown streets and sidewalks."

The reinvestment has meant an improved downtown area for business and as a destination.

"We believe that through hard worki and a collaborative approach, we can reestablish downtown Van Wert as the heart of the community and the center of local pride," Ries declared.
Awards were presented to Once I Was, R&R Employment, 540 Martial Arts, The Embroidery Cooop, and to Wassenberg Art Center.

Thye Colunteer Award was given to Dennis Cummings for the time given to Mail Street.