Progress being made in aligning economic development efforts

City of Fort Wayne Seal

News release from the City of Fort Wayne:

Progress being made in aligning economic development efforts

Local private and public sector leaders today announced progress is being made to align economic development efforts in the community.

Officials provided a progress report and plans for next steps on coordination of economic development activities centered on stronger alignment; increasing the competitive position of the community; and enhancing economic development opportunities.

Since September’s initial announcement to begin the process, a lot of work has taken place. Leaders from the Fort Wayne-Allen County Economic Development Alliance, Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Improvement District (DID), City of Fort Wayne, and Allen County have been engaged in thorough discussions to gain a complete understanding of challenges and opportunities associated with making a restructuring of economic development possible. Leaders have also been detailing commitments that each organization would need to make for a restructuring to be successful. Additional talks have focused on what types of financial and legal structures would need to be implemented.

In an effort to continue the positive momentum achieved over the past several months, Parkview Health President and CEO Mike Packnett has agreed to serve as a transition chairman to assist in helping leaders reach a final decision on a structure and strategy to move forward. Officials anticipate a structure and strategy will be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2013.

Integrating economic development efforts takes time. Local leaders have benchmarked other cities across the country that have experienced successful transitions. It’s not uncommon for implementation to take between 18-24 months. By studying best practices, local officials have determined that other cities have gained positive momentum through private sector leadership demonstrating a commitment to driving economic development processes.

As discussions continue, economic development efforts by the Alliance, Chamber, DID, City, and County have been and will continue to move ahead. Current businesses, prospective future businesses and other entities working with leadership from each entity can count on service and program levels and staffing to be the best possible to attract and retain businesses.

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