Downtown Fort Walton Beach property owners Glenn and Valerie Wenzel (fourth and fifth from left) were joined by (left to right) CRA Administrator Alisa Burleson, Growth Management Director Chris Frassetti, Council member David Schmidt, City Manager Jeff Peters and Council member Gloria DeBerry, as they are awarded a matching $10,000 grant for improvements they made to their building at the corner of U.S. Highway 98 and Ferry Road SE.
Downtown Fort Walton Beach property owners Glenn and Valerie Wenzel recently received a $10,000 matching grant from the City of Fort Walton Beach
's Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) for improvements they made to their 2-story commercial building at the corner of U.S. Highway 98 and Ferry Road.
The ground floor of the Wenzel's 5,000-square-foot building has been home to the popular restaurant Burrito Del Sol for about a decade. The second floor has office space that is leased to several professional businesses. Valerie Wenzel said she and her husband had been planning some renovations for the building.
“We had work we wanted to do to the building, but golly, it’s expensive,” said Valerie, “This (grant) really helped.”
Valerie said the grant helped offset some of the more than $25,000 the couple spent on improvements. The project included repainting the exterior, replacing exterior light fixtures and railings around the second-story windows, and the construction of a fence at the back of the building to provide a secure storage area for the restaurant.
The Wenzel’s grant was part of the CRA’s Façade Grant Program, which provides a matching grant of up to $10,000 for improvements to properties within the city’s CRA district.
The Fort Walton Beach CRA district was established in 1977 to eliminate slum and blight by promoting reinvestment and revitalization in the community. The Façade Grant supports those goals by encouraging private investment and helping to provide an attractive environment for business activity and growth in the CRA district.
As a commercial property owner, Wenzel said she sees the program have a domino effect in the community. The program incentivizes property owners to keep their buildings in good shape, which helps them attract and keep good tenants, which in turn leads to more customers and growth within the CRA district.
“We appreciate the city partnering with property owners and business owners,” said Wenzel. “It makes a huge difference.”
For more information on the CRA and the programs it administers visit: