Announcement Means Local Economic Development Strategy Comes Full Circle

By Jeff Neumeyer

April 9, 2013 Updated Apr 9, 2013 at 6:30 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) --- The more things change, the more they stay the same.

An announcement late Tuesday detailed how the job of recruiting and retaining jobs in Allen County has now returned to an old model.

"Greater Fort Wayne Inc." is the name of the new organization in the county that will spearhead economic development efforts.

The new name and logo were unveiled at an event held at the Grand Wayne Center.

It means the chamber of commerce and Fort Wayne-Allen County Economic Development Alliance have merged, creating a new "one stop shop" approach to attracting and keeping jobs.

" I think we can put our best foot forward, especially with people from the outside, but also with people who are wanting to expand, or grow their businesses that are already here," said Parkview Health President & CEO Mike Packnett, who helped drive the change.

In 1999, local officials announced creation of the economic development alliance, a separate organization from the chamber of commerce, which was supposed to hit a home run in landing new companies and jobs for the community.

Allen County Commissioner Nelson Peters says that system didn't produce the kind of results that had been hoped for.

By folding all the job recruiting functions under one umbrella again, he and other leaders expect to see less confusion and improved performance.

The new organization is looking for a new downtown headquarters.

Two properties are now being focused on, with a decision expected in about a month.

Officials would not say whether space in “The Harrison” is still being considered as a viable option.

A search will also now commence to get a new CEO to run Greater Fort Wayne Inc., a process that should take about 90 days.

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