Communication Builds Our Community

Maggie Mae's Ice Cream Shop Adds to Growing Downtown Variety

New Shop is the Fourth Attracted by CRA Incentive Program

A growing business community in downtown Lake Wales got a bit stronger this week.

The official ribbon-cutting for Maggie Mae's Ice Cream Shop attracted a crowd of fans and well-wishers to the late-morning event at 125 East Park Avenue. The shop features 10 flavors of ice cream made to order, mixed and then instantly frozen using liquid nitrogen.

The shop is owned by Steve Manwell and his wife,Ali, who also own Melanie's Seafood Restaurant just across the street from the new business, giving diners an extra option to find a tasty dessert. Lake Wales Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Skip Alfordled the brief ceremony,

The shop is the fourth new downtown business to take advantage of grant inducements offered by the Lake Wales Community Redevelopment Agency. The CRA is working to attract investors who will remodel and improve vacant downtown properties, thereby increasing their future tax valuations. The grant funds may only be used on permanent fixtures such as structural changes, roofing, plumbing, and electrical work. No furnishings or portable equipment is elegible for the funds.

Individual improvements also help increase the values of surrounding properties. The added tax revenue they will generate will be largely captured by the CRA at "tax increments" and can then be used for further improvements and inducements.

The CRA is using tax increment revenue on a much grander scale to fund the lion's share of the $20 million Lake Wales Connected plan which will soon reconstruct some 20 blocks of the city's commercial heart, creating landscaped pedestrian spaces and room for outdoor dining along brick-paved streets.

The other businesses which have been aided by the grants include Wales Pointe Restaurant, The Ranch, and Melanie's Seafood. At least three other properties are expected to eventually qualify for the funding.

 

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