Final Legacy Recommendations: $80M In Development Initiatives

By John W. Davis
By Maureen Mespell

September 29, 2011 Updated Sep 30, 2011 at 9:42 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Invest the majority of $80 million dollars in economic, downtown/riverfront and youth development.

After nine months of meetings, those are the final recommendations from the Fort Wayne Legacy Task Force for Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry.

The Task Force was asked to come up with bold ideas to bring "transformative change" to Fort Wayne.

Since April 2011, task force members looked at nearly one-thousand ideas.

Task force members concluded that anything that will bring "transformative change" to Fort Wayne, needs to either create jobs, improve downtown or turn Fort Wayne into a prep-sports mecca.

Meanwhile, several task force members were disappointed they could not find a "silver bullet," one central idea, the community could rally around.

However, members said they were satisfied with the broad concepts of Downtown/Riverfront Development, Economic Development and Youth Development that they will pass along to Mayor Henry.

The task force also added a fourth provision.

They voted to suggest Mayor Henry creates a "Legacy Trust Board.

They want that group to have full authority on how to spend the money, so they Legacy Funds are not caught in the political process, where it would be necessary to receive spending approval from Fort Wayne City Council.

They also suggested and Mayor Henry has agreed to save a portion of the $80M for the future.

Meanwhile, the following specific suggested ideas are still on the table:

(Including Riverfront Development)

-Live/Work Space

-Downtown Post-Secondary Education Facility (Indiana Tech Law School Proposal)

-Capital Improvement Fund Concept

ex. Public Market or Indiana Hotel


-Downtown Development Trust/Land Acquisition

-CBD Retail Program/grant Loan



-Public Art Trust - Special Projects

-Catalytic Art


(Job Creation/Attraction/Business Retention)

-Centers for Excellence (Life Sciences Education/Research and Development Proposal)

-Parkview Redevelopment/Carew Street

-"Jump Start" Venture Fund

-The Talent Initiative - STEM


-Passenger Rail (NIPRA) Feasibility Study

-Multimodal Improvements (trail, bridge, sidewalk)

-Community Gateways


(Make Fort Wayne Prep Sports Capital)

-World Class Youth Prep Sports
(ASH Centre/Turnstone Proposal)

-Indoor Track and Field Facility

-Motorsports Legacy Dragstrip Complex


"I really like the downtown ideas and focusing money downtown," said Legacy Task Force Member Angela Hughes.

"I'm just real favorable to that and seeing Fort Wayne be similar to some of those other cities like a Chicago or a Kentucky - Cincinnati area where you are going to that riverfront," said Hughes, who serves as Corporate Counsel for Franklin Electric.

"The downtown is hard to argue with, not want to put money downtown. It's the anchor for the region," added Legacy Task Force Member Joe Dorko.

"I'm going to say probably all three of those (economic, downtown, youth development) are just about equally important," explained Dorko, who is well known for his position as Lutheran Health Networks CEO.

Meanwhile, the task force still needs to approve the updated version on Thursday's final draft.

Once that document is in Mayor Henry's hands, the legacy process will move forward.

Fort Wayne Deputy Mayor Beth Malloy told Indiana's NewsCenter, Mayor Henry will share his ideas in the "near future."

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