Mayor Henry shares how Fort Wayne’s future is now in annual State of the City address
Focuses attention on revitalized downtown, neighborhood investments, public safety
(February 13, 2019) – Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry today delivered his 12th State of the City address. The theme for this year’s address was “Our Future is Now” with an emphasis on the excitement and revitalization being experienced in downtown, record investments in neighborhood infrastructure improvements, and a continued commitment to public safety. The free event was held at the Grand Wayne Center.
“The optimism and positive momentum we’re seeing are clear indications of why Fort Wayne’s future is now. Never before have I witnessed the confidence and passion about where we’re headed as a city,” said Mayor Henry. “I continue to be inspired by the hopes and dreams for Fort Wayne. Today served as an opportunity to highlight our successes and achievements, acknowledge challenges facing our community, and look forward to great days ahead for residents, neighborhoods, and businesses.”
Highlights from Mayor Henry’s State of the City address:
- Promenade Park, which is Phase I of Riverfront Fort Wayne, will open in June. Work on phases II and III is underway to provide additional public spaces and future private investment to include dining, retail, and entertainment opportunities.
- The Landing will open later this year with housing units and commercial and retail space.
- Superior Lofts is open with 72 apartments as an adaptive re-use of a 1905 building.
- Skyline Tower is open with apartments, a Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and First Merchants Bank.
- The 136-room Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton will open in July next to Parkview Field, and at Main and Harrison streets, work will begin later this year on a new hotel led by Provenance Hotels and Barbara Baekgaard.
The City will invest $31 million in neighborhood infrastructure enhancements, which will be a new record. Since 2014, Fort Wayne has made $130 million in improvements to streets, roads, sidewalks, alleys, curbs, and street lights.
Overall crime is down 15 percent. The Fort Wayne Police Department is adding 22 new police officers this year. The FWPD will continue to address homicides by adding more resources to the homicide unit. More personnel in the vice and narcotics unit will help in efforts to reduce drugs in Fort Wayne. The FWPD will also continue to lead and collaborate with partner agencies in the ongoing battle against drug addiction.
The Fort Wayne Fire Department will add 11 new firefighters this year. In addition, the FWFD is making positive strides with equipment upgrades, new technology, and additional training. The FWFD is a leader in fire protection services, life-saving practices, and public outreach and education efforts.
Job growth and economic development:
In 2018, there were nearly 2,500 new job commitments, $115 million in new annual payroll, and a total private business investment of $336 million.
In addition to the riverfront development work, there will be $3 million in improvements to Fort Wayne’s award-winning parks this year.
Construction on the deep rock tunnel project, the largest infrastructure project in Fort Wayne history to reduce combined sewer overflows and clean our rivers, continues. There will also be $115 million invested in dozens of projects with proactive solutions in neighborhoods and at the water and sewer treatment plants.
In the past year, Fort Wayne has been named a top city to move to by Reader’s Digest; the best place in Indiana to live by Business Insider and U.S. News and World Report; the lowest cost of living city for the third year in a row by Niche; the most affordable city for homeownership by SmartAsset; and one of the country’s best-run cities by WalletHub.
Mayor Henry gave special recognitions to:
- Greg Leffler and Greg Leffler, Jr., with First Gear
- Shep and Wendy Moyle with Shindigz
- Monty Hamilton with Rural Sourcing
- The TenPoint Coalition Foot Patrol Team
- Susan Mendenhall and Dan Ross with Arts United
- Mike Mushett, Tom Trent, Lisa and Jake Czechowski, Cody Carmicle, and Matt Boyle with Turnstone