Property owners receive grants

Funding will help renovate historic buildings

GREENFIELD — Three downtown property owners received grant money totaling about $69,000 to renovate three historic buildings.

Steve McCleerey and Linda and Jeff Congdon recently learned they are recipients of an Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs grant to renovate their historic buildings on State and Main streets.

McCleerey owns McCleerey’s Sporting Goods, 22 S. State St., and another commercial building nearby. The Congdons own the Thayer Building at 20 E. Main St., which currently houses Greenfield Fitness.

The buildings were among 17 statewide awarded Historic Renovation Grants ranging from $10,500 to $100,000 to be used for exterior renovations and repairs. McCleerey received about $29,000 to renovate the building that houses his family-owned sporting goods shop and another $18,795 for his family’s nearby commercial building on State Street. The Congdons were awarded about $40,000 to renovate the upstairs of the Thayer Building, which has been sitting empty since the 1960s.

The Historic Renovation Grant Program, launched this year, is a competitive grant program designed to preserve and rehabilitate historic properties to encourage economic development in Indiana’s downtowns. The Indiana General Assembly this year approved funding for the program, and more than $800,000 was awarded to building owners in communities across the state.

The money can be used to replace roofs, restore masonry, replace windows and doors and renovate facades.

McCleerey, whose family purchased the building in 1996, said he plans replace brick on the buildings and the roof and install new windows and doors. He also plans to install new exterior lighting on the buildings along State Street.

He serves on Greenfield’s Historic Board of Review and said he feels its important to preserve historic buildings downtown. With the grant money he received, he’ll be able to do that.

“We’ve been here a long time, and we want to be here for a long time,” McCleerey said.

Linda Congdon said the second floor of the Thayer Building will be renovated into office space. The downstairs of the building houses Greenfield Fitness and was renovated last year, but the upstairs hasn’t been occupied since the 1960s.

The roof needs to be replaced, and the building needs new electrical and plumbing systems.

Once renovated, the building will house 10 office suites available for rent, Congdon said.

While renovating the structure, which was built more than 100 years ago, they’ll try to maintain its historic character, she said.

“It has beautiful charm to it,” she said.

Renovation work could start as early as this spring.

City planner Joanie Fitzwater said she’s hopeful other property owners will be interested in the grant program in the future after three Greenfield properties were selected for the funding in the first round.

“It’s really important we find ways to preserve these buildings, and this kind of maintenance is ongoing for an older building,” she said. “We’re fortunate the state has made the dollars available on a competitive basis.”

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Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or