Communication Builds Our Community

CRA Restaurant Incentive Grant Attracts New Ice Cream Outlet Downtown

Maggie Mae's Ice Cream Shack to Build Out Space on Park Avenue

Riding on the success of his downtown seafood restaurant, Steve Manwell has big plans to add an ice cream shop just across the street. That idea received a solid boost this week. when the Lake Wales Community Redevelopment Agency board unanimously approved his request for a $50,000 matching grant at Tuesday's meeting.

Manwell and his wife, Allie, own and operate Melanie's Seafood Company at 120 East Park, and utilized a prior incentive grant to get that operation started. They received that incentive payment last May and have found success despite the impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic. Their food and service continue to receive rave reviews from diners.

The new venture will face their restaurant across Park Avenue. Maggie Mae's Ice Cream Shack will fill a vacant space at 125 East. Park Avenue, and will be operated by the Manwell's daughter, Melanie, for whom the original restaurant is named.

The Manwells have worked in food service for several years prior to their current venture, but saw the opportunity to become self-employed.

The incentive grants offered by the CRA will cover half of the cost of improvements to the structure and the installation of fixtures, or equipment which is not portable and adds to the real estate value. The CRA expects that over a period of years the agency will recoup the grants through increased values of the subject property and neighboring real estate.

The CRA is funded solely through the capture of "tax increments," which are the increase in revenues from a base year. The CRA receives about 90% of that annual increase from both city and county taxes. The funds must be reinvested within the CRA area to fund improvements, which should further raise property values and increase future revenue for the agency.


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