grant program funds
downtown Vevay revitalization
business comes to
life through new owners
Helen E. McKinney
VEVAY, Ind. (June 2010) Dawn Shell found it
hard to drive by the building every day that had once housed her fathers
former Dairy Queen business in Vevay. Having always worked in the food
industry, Shell knew she would one day buy the empty building and restore
it to an eatery of which her father could be proud.
by Don Ward
Ice Cream is now a popular
spot in downtown Vevay.
In 1968, Shells father bought the business in which
she grew up, said Shell. She worked there for a few weeks
out of every summer when she was a teenager. Her father sold the business
after 20 years to concentrate on other investments.
It made me sick to drive by the building years later and see what
a state of disrepair it had fallen into, she said. A second eatery
opened for a brief time in the building, but then it sat empty for two
years until becoming available through a sheriffs sale.
Located at 805 E. Main St., Shell knew the building would need a lot
of renovating, but she was up for the challenge. Along with her three
children and mother, she now operates Shells Ice Cream and Grill,
a 1950s style ice cream shop and grill, complete with jukebox and the
only drive-thru in Vevay.
Shell was able to restore the facade of the building with funding she
received through the Real Estate Capital Access Program, or RECAP, Large
Project Facade Grant. It was in need of structural and parking lot repairs,
landscaping and a roof. We reconstructed the outside and added
signage, she said.
Though Shell would have been able to do the work without the grant,
it was so nice to have it, she said. We were able
to do extra things with it that wouldnt have worked out financially
without the grant.
Shell is one of several recipients of funding from RECAP. This program
is aimed at redeveloping main streets throughout rural Indiana. It is
a joint effort between the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs,
the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, and the Indiana
Office of Tourism Development.
Vevay was selected as one of three pilot communities for the RECAP
program, said David Attaway, Executive Director of Switzerland
County Tourism. Already in place was an exciting initiative. Our
ideas are tourism-based.
courtesy of Kendall Miller
Shell is among the Vevay area
business owners who took advantage
of the RECAP funds to renovate her
building, Shells Ice Cream & Grill.
Feasibility and market studies had to be conducted before
projects were chosen to receive funding. There were stipulations on
who could apply based on geography, said Attaway. The projects
had to be consolidated enough to see progress.
Businesses awarded money supplied matching funds for the projects. The
total amount of money dispensed through the RECAP program in Vevay was
Lisa and Jerry Fisher received the maximum $30,000 matching grant. The
Fishers own the Schenck Mansion Bed & Breakfast, a 35-room mansion
built in 1874 by Benjamin Franklin Schenck. The B&B is located at
206 W. Turnpike St.
We applied for RECAP grant funding because we wanted and needed
to make some improvements to expand our business, said Lisa Fisher.
The money was used to construct a new driveway and bridge, install terracing
and landscaping, and add a patio area to better serve outdoor wedding
We do have a tremendous amount of upkeep with a property like
this, Fisher said. One of the best things about the grant
is that the improvements were all things that help with maintaining
the outer appearance.
When originally restoring the old house, the Fishers won first prize
in the Preserving Indiana contest sponsored by Preservation Magazine.
A lot of time and effort have gone into restoring the mansion, whose
interior is furnished with original fixtures.
Without RECAP funding, the Fishers would have accomplished some of the
recent facade work on their own, but on a smaller scale. The grant
enabled us to do what we really wanted, she said.
The couple has had very positive responses from guests on the facade
improvements. We think anything that can give your business or
town more curb appeal is very important to tourism traffic.
Other projects in Vevay awarded RECAP funding include the Grisard Building,
a property at 319 Ferry St. that will become Ferry Street Woodworks
when it opens this fall; Los Banditos, a new Mexican restaurant that
has opened downtown; the Switzerland County Historical Society, which
plans to convert a garage into an office; and improvements on the Switzerland
County Courthouse grounds, among others.
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