We, at the City of Fort Wayne, were thrilled to usher in the New Year with some good news about our local economy! This month, the California-based Milken Institute ranked Fort Wayne 13th out of 200 large cities nationwide in job growth from May 2011 to May 2012 in its annual Best-Performing Cities report. The report states that Metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) that saw the biggest gains in job growth were successful because they had broad and diversified businesses driving their economies. Such businesses included traditional manufacturing, such as the auto industry, as well as manufacturers of heavy equipment, machine tools and steel and other metals
The Fort Wayne MSA was also ranked 59th overall on the 2012 Best Performing Cities index – up from 127th in 2011. The Best Performing Cities index measures an MSA's overall economic vitality – based on job creation and retention, the quality of new jobs, growth in high-tech jobs and other criteria.
I will continue to work with our economic development partners to make sure that Fort Wayne remains a place where goods jobs can grow, families can thrive and businesses can prosper.
As you know, I am continually seeking public input on new initiatives to improve the quality of life and make it easier to do business here. On Wednesday, January 30, the public is invited to learn about and comment on proposed changes to local planning and zoning regulations. These changes are being proposed by City and County government as part of an effort to streamline land-use permitting processes – the ultimate goal is to improve, streamline, simplify and clarify the steps residents and business owners must take to develop new or make improvements to commercial buildings and homes.
The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in Room 035 of Citizens Square, 200 E. Berry Street. Drafts of the proposed ordinance changes can be reviewed at http://www.allencounty.us/dps.
On another note, one month after the beyond-tragic massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., I joined with Angola Mayor Richard Hickman; a coalition of mayors from throughout Indiana and public safety officials from the Fort Wayne Police Department and Fort Wayne Fire Department in calling on President Obama and members of Congress to take immediate steps to end the gun violence epidemic that kills 33 Americans every day.
Since the shooting at Sandy Hook, Mayors Against Illegal Guns has added more than 100 mayors to its national bipartisan coalition to end gun violence and grown to more than one million supporters. Our reason for making this call is simple: to keep our communities safe. We aim to do this by urging Congress to require background checks for all gun sales, ban military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and by making gun trafficking a federal crime.
It is very important to note that we, as Mayors, remain in staunch support of the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms. I have always and will continue to support this Constitutional right. Our concern lies with the possession and distribution of illegal firearms, which can have deadly, devastating consequences. That's why we are urging Congress to take action to eliminate illegal guns, as a way to help end the gun violence that plagues our cities, neighborhoods, schools and communities.
And, on a final note, I will give the 2013 State of the City Address at noon Wednesday, February 6 at the Allen County Public Library auditorium, 900 Library Plaza. During the address, I will highlight our City's many successes in 2012 and look ahead to plans for 2013. If you are not able to make it to the downtown library, you may be able to watch the event on TV. Both Indiana's NewsCenter and City TV are scheduled to air the speech live.