Thanks to Tax Increment Financing funding provided to CanalPort Community Center through the Morris City Council, We Care’s east-facing exterior wall is getting a facelift.
A previous owner of the building had applied a red skim coat over the crumbling, deteriorating brick in an attempt to prevent further deterioration. This method, however, can trap more moisture into the brick and result in further deterioration underneath the skim coat.
The best method to repair, maintain and preserve historic brick buildings is to replace old brick and mortar with the help of professional tuckpointers.
TIF funding, which is a public financing method that is used for subsidizing community-improvement projects, made this project possible.
TIF is often designed to channel funding toward improvements in distressed, underdeveloped, or underutilized parts of a jurisdiction where development might otherwise not occur.
The five nonprofit organizations that are housed in the CanalPort Community Center would not have been able to afford this improvement — that is both cosmetically and structurally necessary — nor the tuckpointing that took place in the courtyard of the center about 18 months ago, without TIF funding.
In addition to We Care, these nonprofits include Grundy Community Volunteer Hospice, the Morris Theatre Guild, the Morris Christian Youth Center and the Grundy County Historical Society Museum.
At this stage of the process, but only for a short while, you can actually see the historic legacy of this building as the Coleman Hardware sign has now become visible again. The building was originally a factory built in 1873 by Coleman Hardware Company.
The company made hinges, locks and other hardware.
On Aug. 16, 1994, the Coleman Hardware Building was added to the National Register of Historic Places. In 2008, Jim and Carol Baum purchased and renovated the building in order to develop the CanalPort Community Center.
The CanalPort Community Center is now a condominium-style suite of properties that the Baums sold to local nonprofits that needed large spaces at a low cost to effectively accomplish their missions and establish a permanent presence in Grundy County.
We Care is a local nonprofit agency that provides emergency assistance to Grundy County residents in the form of food, rent, utility and prescription assistance. We Care is a United Way partner agency and is funded primarily by private donations.