FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne's NBC) - Old parking meters ready for the scrap heap are being repurposed to benefit Fort Wayne nonprofits.
It comes at a time when COVID-19 has made it tough for such entities to raise funds.
The Fort Wayne city clerk is spearheading the program called, "Meters With a Mission".
The clerk is sponsoring a meter on display outside Citizens Square that has been painted to look like a gumball machine.
A limited number of downtown businesses are being offered the chance to get one of the outdated city meters currently kept in storage, and then paint it with some kind of artistic design, before it gets installed next to the company's entrance or in a location with high foot traffic.
The company's managers pick a nonprofit organization of their choice they want to support, and when people drop coins in the meters, the money will go to the charitable causes.
"We'll also encourage the company that has adopted that meter to match those contributions to a level that they can, so it's a win-win for those not for profit organizations that have lost money due to COVID and all of their fund-raising opportunities being canceled," said Fort Wayne City Clerk Lana Keesling.
The city of Fort Wayne will install the meters and provide a sign on each meter naming the nonprofit and the company as a sponsor.
City personnel will regularly empty coins from the meters, log the money collected, and then write checks in the appropriate amounts to the nonprofits involved.
Only the first 30 companies to express interest will get a meter.
If all goes as planned, the colorful meters will start popping up around downtown in mid-July.
The program is expected to collect donations at least through the end of the year.