Coalition Gains Steam in Support of Sidewalks, Alleys and Riverfront

Community Leaders Step Up to Endorse Revitalization Effort

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — More community members are signing on to support revitalization of Fort Wayne’s sidewalks, alleys and riverfront area. Organizations representing a wide range of the population have stepped up to formally endorse a proposed Fort Wayne City Council ordinance that would fund these infrastructure projects.

As of Wednesday, the growing list of organizations supporting the measure included:

  • Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery
  • Fort Wayne Community Schools
  • Greater Fort Wayne Inc.
  • UPSTAR (The Upstate Alliance of Realtors®)
  • Visit Fort Wayne (The Fort Wayne/Allen County Convention and Visitors Bureau)
  • Williams Woodland Park Neighborhood Association
  • Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana

“Years ago, Visit Fort Wayne supported the creation of Headwaters Park, our city’s first venture into riverfront development. Today, we enthusiastically support the continued development of the riverfront to give people yet another reason to visit our great city,” said Dan O’Connell, president and CEO of Visit Fort Wayne. “Henceforth, that is why our Board of Directors voted to support an increase in the local option income tax by 0.15 percent—to build a riverfront we all can be proud of.”

“Riverfront and walkability were two of the top four local projects that our members feel are important,” said Stephanie Veit, president of Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana. “We believe these types of projects will help Fort Wayne continue attracting professionals of all ages—especially young professionals. These are exactly the kinds of projects that will make our city a better place to live.”

John Sampson, CEO of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, said, “Fort Wayne Riverfront Development is the cornerstone of the Road to One Million plan. Our region must continue to make bold investments in the quality of place assets of our community. This is crucial to retain and attract the talent necessary to sustain the future growth of business investments in Northeast Indiana. The Regional Opportunities Council, the investor board of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, has voiced their support through a resolution strongly encouraging the Fort Wayne City Council to advance timely funding of phase II and III of the Riverfront Development project.”

In addition to riverfront development, the ordinance would fund repairs to alleyways and existing sidewalks, and construction of new sidewalks.

“Investments in safer sidewalks, maintenance of our alleyways and revitalization of our riverfront will make the places where we educate, work, live and play more accessible, continue to increase property values and increase the quality of life for our community,” said Kim Ward, president of the UPSTAR Board of Directors.

Nearly 1 in 4 residential properties in the city of Fort Wayne are located on an alley. The City Council measure would create, for the first time, a dedicated revenue stream for alleyway maintenance.

“As a neighborhood, we have pioneered a very successful matching grant program for our residents to provide private investment and improve the exterior of their homes,” said Lyndsay Sheets, president of the Williams Woodland Park Neighborhood Association. “However, our neighborhood has yet to achieve any level of success in repairing our 100-year-old alleyways due to the excessive cost, despite this issue being the biggest concern every year for our residents. The private citizens of this area are investing in the infrastructure of this beautiful neighborhood, and we are hopeful that the City Council ordinance will help our neighborhood become more aesthetically pleasing, drivable and, most importantly, safer.”

City Council will host a public meeting to discuss the proposed Local Income Tax (LIT) adjustment at 5:30 p.m. on June 27. City Council will also discuss and vote on the proposal at 5:30 p.m. on July 11. Both meetings will be held in Room 35, Garden Level of the Citizens Square Building, 200 E. Berry Street.

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About Greater Fort Wayne Inc.
Greater Fort Wayne (GFW) Inc. serves Fort Wayne and Allen County, Indiana, as its metro chamber alliance and primary point of contact for economic growth. GFW Inc., focuses on prosperity and community vibrancy through economic development, advocacy, programs and resources that support business success, leadership development, graduate retention and community engagement. To learn more, visit www.greaterfortwayneinc.com.

Greater Fort Wayne Inc. is a nonprofit membership organization serving the business community in Fort Wayne and Allen County, Indiana. Policies and positions expressed in this document do not represent those of any elected officials or government entities, and do not represent endorsement, recommendation or favoring by any such officials or entities.