FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21 ALIVE) --- "We're a city on the move".
Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry made that pronouncement Wednesday in his 7th "State of the City Address", touting downtown development as a major sign the city is being transformed for the good.
They packed into a room at the Grand Wayne Center, where the mayor was almost giddy about what he called "unprecedented momentum we're experiencing".
“I’m encouraged by the strong gains we're seeing in our economy. It's truly remarkable what we're witnessing. We're a city on the move," Mayor Henry said.
The key to it all may well be a newfound zeal for residential living in the downtown.
Condominiums and apartments are springing up in the core of the city, with work slated to begin soon on a 15-story high-end housing project going up next to the planned downtown headquarters for Ash Brokerage.
A major thing on the 2014 agenda is progress on a riverfront study.
“Over the next year, the study will provide a road map for world class investment," Henry said.
Violent crime is one of the blights on the city's resume.
Fort Wayne had a record number of homicides last year.
Henry announced to the crowd, a new gang and violent crime unit launches later this month.
“The unit will work to reduce criminal gang activity, investigate crimes, and gather intelligence on known and suspected gang members."
At one point in the speech, the mayor said that Fort Wayne is becoming the envy of the state and the Midwest.
Some other city leaders believe that's not far from the truth.
“There is a great movement across this country, called counter migration, back into the city, suddenly becoming the place where people want to live. All we have to do is take advantage of that movement," said John Sheaf, City Councilman At-Large.
“I think we have the train on the track, we're moving in the right direction. We're expanding, we're trying to make things better for the community," said Tom Didier, 3rd District Council Member.
Henry also touted progress on a final agreement to purchase Aqua Indiana's water utility in Southwest Fort Wayne, saying he's committed to providing city water to current Aqua customers there beginning this year.
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