We say our community is such great place to be, but if that's true, why are more people moving out than moving in?
In 2017,Â for the first time since the U.S. Census Bureau began tracking the statistic, more people moved intoÂ Allen County than moved out. We’re making progress, but we still have a long way to go.
Communities across the country are competing for talent every day. If we’re not improving as fast or faster than our competitors, we can’t compete with them in a way that will reverse the trend of people moving out. Enhancing our quality of place with more physical community assets will allow us to better compete for new talent and keep current talent here.
If we bring in all these new jobs and fill 75 percent of them with newcomers, what opportunity is there for the people who live here now and are employed, but may be underemployed? How does that increase their earning potential and economic mobility?
When more companies locate jobs in our community, more opportunity exists for all of Fort Wayne and Allen County. Those who are underemployed will have additional opportunity for education to advance their skill sets, more room to advance, and more options if they’re in a position that isn’t meeting their needs or supporting their career goals.
In addition to the downtown core, neighborhoods are crucial to the development of our community. Looking at communities across the country that have invested in their downtowns, we have seen that neighborhoods win when downtowns win. The growth in the downtown core has a ripple effect on the community that benefits neighborhoods significantly, including private investment in neighborhoods as a result of downtown growth.
TheÂ EventÂ CenterÂ will expand opportunities downtown in a multitude of ways. With connection to the Grand Wayne Center, the arena will allow for expanded conventions to be hosted here. As a sporting and entertainment venue, this 5,000- to 6,000-seat space will serve a mid-size audience, larger than the 2,000-seat Embassy serves, and smaller than the 13,000-seat Coliseum serves. This means that Fort Wayne will have the opportunity to capture events for which we currently do not have a right-size venue. In addition, the arena will be a four-season venue, and will be wrapped with retail, restaurants, and more, creating a 24/7/365 hub of energy in downtown Fort Wayne.
Your estimates show the Riverfront costing $100 million. But aren't the latest plans from the city tagged at $19 million?
Yes. The city is currently moving forward on the first phase of the Riverfront. This phase, which will create park space and provide access to the Riverfront, spans from the Wells Street bridge to the Harrison Street bridge. The entirety of the Riverfront development, from the Sherman Boulevard bridge to the Samuel Bigger bridge is expected to total around $100 million. For more information on Riverfront development, visit www.riverfrontfw.org.
RTM Ventures is working on the development of the campus, known as Electric Works. The development will be mixed-use, including residential, commercial, retail and higher education, with an emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship.
We can. Recently GFW Inc. invested private money towards a study conducted by experts in municipal financing. Their findings were impressive, confirming Fort Wayne’s demonstration of strong fiscal management. In addition, the study recommended adoption of three key best practices: generational equity, consolidated TIF districts and properly balancing cash flow with debt. These best practices will allow the community to maximize opportunities to invest in important capital projects, such as those outlined in the 10-year vision.
Why does the community have to make the investments? If these projects are so great, why doesn't the private sector do it without public dollars?
Companies invest in communities that invest in themselves. If our community isn’t excited and willing to invest here, we can’t expect developers, whether local, regional, or national, to get excited about investing. To attract more private investment and grow into a nationally recognized economy, we have to invest in ourselves first.