Free introductory training for construction trades jobs offered

Associate editor Linda Lipp is an award-winning journalist who joined Business Weekly in 2005. You can send information for her weekly real estate and retail column to llipp@kpcmedia.com or call (260) 426-2640 ext. 3307.

A second Allen County “Building Futures” training class is scheduled for June 4-22 at Ivy Tech Community College-Fort Wayne.

The free, three-week, pre-apprenticeship program is designed to enhance talent pipelines for construction trades occupations, the Northeast Indiana Building & Construction Trades Council and Northeast Indiana Works said in a joint release.

Building Futures classes include instruction on such things as communication, problem-solving, safety and health, blueprint reading, construction math, material handling, tool utilization and quality. Students will have an opportunity to earn two industry-recognized certifications and complete Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) training.

Building Futures is for people 18 years of age and older. Those selected must undergo a pre-assessment process that includes a drug screen. Participants will receive a $200-a-week stipend during the course of the program.

Individuals who complete the program will be positioned for entry into the construction trades workforce or a paid apprenticeship program.

Those interested can begin the sign-up process by visiting neibt.org or by calling the building trades at (260) 489-8574. The deadline to sign up is May 7.

Bradley Co.

Tyler Binkley represented the tenant, 24/30 Surplus LLC, in the lease of 14,820 square feet of retail space, formerly a Walgreens, at 123 N. 13th St., Decatur.

Binkley represented the seller, Blackmon Real Estate LLC, and the buyer, Georgetown Professional Center LLC, in the sale of the 10,212 square-foot retail center at 6420‐6432 Georgetown North Blvd.

Mom’s the word for upcoming downtown celebration

Downtown Fort Wayne will bring its Mother’s Day Downtown event back on May 13.

From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., free trolleys and event guides will connect visitors to retail locations, restaurants and Mother’s Day-themed activities.

New this year, the Arts United Center will serve as the main trolley hub. Lutheran Health Network will operate two LHN Mother’s Day shuttles from 1 to 4 p.m. along the trolley route for even more transportation capacity and convenience.

Guides showcasing trolley stops, activities, and parking suggestions will be available at participating business and sponsor locations beginning April 20 and also will be available on the trolleys the day of the event.

Block grant applications sought

The Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs is accepting applications for the first round of Community Development Block Grants of 2018.

Applications may be made for the Main Street revitalization program, public facilities program, stormwater improvements program and/or the wastewater/drinking water program.

The complete application, which includes the instructions, proposal/application template and sample documents can be found at in.gov/ocra/cdbg. CDBG round-one proposals are being accepted until 4 p.m. May 25. Final applications are due by 4 p.m. July 20 with funding awards to be announced on Aug. 16.

Funding for all of the programs comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and is administered by OCRA. The state of Indiana distributes CDBG funds to rural communities to assist units of local government with various community projects, such as improving infrastructure, downtown revitalization, public facilities improvements and economic development.

Volunteers needed for downtown observation project

The city of Fort Wayne’s Community Development Division is looking for volunteers willing to spend four hours of their time observing how people use downtown public spaces.

Volunteers are needed to take part in a public space/public life survey, which will document how people use spaces like Freimann Square, the Indiana Michigan Power Center Plaza, the Courthouse Green and others. During a four-hour shift, volunteers will take note of whether people are walking, biking, socializing or using the public space in other ways. The volunteers will not approach or talk with anyone; they will simply observe what happens in the spaces.

Once all the data is collected, Gehl, a leading expert organization on creating vibrant, sustainable, people-focused cities, will analyze the results and then recommend ways to make downtown spaces work better for people. Suggestions may include everything from more seating and lighting to bike lanes and public art. The end goal is to create a place that is memorable, enjoyable and accessible for residents and visitors.

Volunteers should be 18 years of age or older and will be assigned to one of 10 downtown public spaces. Approximately 60 volunteers are needed. For information about volunteering and to sign up, visit www.fwcommunitydevelopment.org and click on the volunteer link.

The project is being primarily funded by the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne/Knight Foundation. The city of Fort Wayne is providing support and additional funding.

March retail sales roared like a lion all month long

March retail sales increased 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted over February and 5 percent year-over-year, the National Retail Federation reported.

The numbers exclude automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants.

“This is a healthy spending report despite market volatility, unseasonable weather and uncertain economic policies,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “The biggest risk to spending is in market fluctuations that could affect confidence, but we expect these basic improvements in economic fundamentals to continue.”

The three-month moving average was up 4.8 percent over the same period a year ago. The NRF is forecasting that 2018 retail sales will grow between 3.8 percent and 4.4 percent over 2017.

Results by category showed:

Online and other non-store sales were up 7.6 percent year-over-year and up 0.8 percent over February, seasonally adjusted.

General merchandise stores were up 6.3 percent year-over-year and up 0.3 percent from February, seasonally adjusted.

Clothing and clothing-accessory stores were up 6.1 percent year-over-year but down 0.8 percent from February, seasonally adjusted.

Grocery and beverage stores were up 5.9 percent year-over-year and up 0.2 percent from February.

Furniture and home furnishings stores were up 4.1 percent year-over-year and up 0.7 percent from February, seasonally adjusted.

Building-materials and garden-supply stores were up 3.8 percent year-over-year but down 0.6 percent from February, seasonally adjusted.

Electronics and appliance stores were up 1.6 percent year-over-year and up 0.5 percent from February, seasonally adjusted.

Health and personal-care stores were up 0.4 percent year-over-year and up 1.4 percent from February, seasonally adjusted.

Sporting-goods stores were down 0.9 percent year-over-year and down 1.8 percent from February, seasonally adjusted.

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