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MAYOR TOM HENRYWe're working together with our partners in economic development to make our city, county and region as economically competitive as we possibly can.

Leaders from the City of Fort Wayne, Allen County, the Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce, the Fort Wayne-Allen County Economic Development Alliance and the Downtown Improvement District (DID) recently announced a plan to work together to explore ways to enhance economic development opportunities.

I was recently joined by Allen County Commissioner Nelson Peters; Mike Christman, board chair, Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce; Jill Perillo, board chair, Fort Wayne-Allen County Economic Development Alliance and Charles Heiny, board chair, Downtown Improvement District to announce this initiative.

In an effort to promote stronger alignment and increase the competitive position of the community, local leaders have engaged in preliminary discussions to determine if a restructuring of economic development efforts might be possible.

Integrating economic development efforts in other areas of the country have been successful in such areas as Lexington, Ky.; Milwaukee, Wis.; Oklahoma City, Okla. and Spokane, Wash. Local leaders have been examining these success stories and will explore how economic development efforts could be stronger aligned to benefit the community through an integrated system.
Each entity is committed to finding the most effective ways to invest public and private dollars as it relates to economic development. Soon, a working group will be put in place to move the discussions forward.

The goal of exploring and examining options is to enhance effectiveness and ensure that our region is more aligned as a leader in economic development. Leaders are looking to have a recommendation in place by the end of the year.

On another topic, we are excited about another development project in one of our neighborhoods: A 36-unit, supportive housing apartment complex for young adults aging out of foster care will be built on the Fairfield Avenue site of the former Duemling Clinic. The Courtyard of Fort Wayne is the first such housing facility in the state targeting 18- to 25-year-olds who have been in foster care or residential care.

The Courtyard, located near the corner of Fairfield and Homes avenues, will be on a 2.4-acre site and include 55 parking spaces, and housing units to accommodate individuals and some residents with children. With the development of this facility, the area will soon be filled with energy and the vibrant activity of youth working to build successful lives.

This collaborative project is being done Specialized Alternatives for Families and Youth (SAFY), Biggs Property Management and Stop Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN), Inc.

This is the kind of effort the City is thrilled to take part in. It includes not just City dollars and support but support from a wide range of partners, nonprofits, foundations, government agencies and private investors. It will provide much-needed services and housing for some of our most vulnerable youth.


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