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INVESTING IN FORT WAYNE - MESSAGE FROM THE MAYOR

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Mayor Tom HenryOn June 25, the Fort Wayne City Council voted in favor of one of the most important initiatives in the history of the City of Fort Wayne. I want to commend Council members for demonstrating leadership by passing a financial plan for the future that will sustain our community and position us for success!

In a bipartisan manner, we've made a commitment to invest in Fort Wayne. We're moving the City forward with more police officers and firefighters, funding for street and park improvements without having to borrow money, property tax relief for homeowners, and a small income tax increase to continue with important, necessary services that citizens expect and deserve.

I want to thank our City employees, citizens, businesses, community leaders, and the Fiscal Policy Group for coming together for the betterment of Fort Wayne. Over the past year and a half, we've had an open dialogue on how to maintain our viability and sustainability. We're all making sacrifices that will make a meaningful difference for today and tomorrow.

I'm excited about our future. There's positive momentum in Fort Wayne. By investing in ourselves, we're saying we're committed to a great quality of life, tremendous neighborhoods, new jobs and business growth. Our time is now.

On another note, just recently we announced that several homeowners in the Dalevue/Fernwood area of Waynedale have agreed to sell their properties to the City as a result of flooding challenges.

Following the most recent flooding in April, I walked the neighborhood and met with residents in the Dalevue/Fernwood area. At that time, I told them I would work on a buyout plan. The process has moved forward quickly, including additional meetings with residents, property appraisals, offers and purchase agreements.
The purchases have been approved by the Board of Public Works. The process will now move to City Council for approval.

The buyouts were voluntary. The homes will be demolished later this year and a larger capacity stormwater pipe will be put in place along with an earthen berm to protect the homes that will remain in the area. City Utilities will soon advertise for bids to construct the stormwater pipe and additional stormwater drains that will be completed by next spring. And, design work is moving forward on the earthen berm to protect the area up to the 100-year flood stage.

As many of you know, the Dalevue/Fernwood area has had frequent flooding when heavy rains occur and when the nearby Fairfield Ditch overflows, moves across a field and surrounds the homes.

We've worked closely with the Army Corps of Engineers to come up with a solution to protect the area. As funding remains tight and there are needs across the country, we cannot wait on a federal solution. The residents have waited long enough. We'll protect them with the buyouts and upcoming projects. This is an appropriate investment of local dollars to help our community.

The investment for the buyouts is $480,000.

In recent years, the City has moved forward with several projects to protect properties and help residents in areas of chronic flooding. Flood control improvement projects sometimes coupled with buyouts have occurred on Winchester Road, the Park/Thompson area, the Woodhurst neighborhood, the Junk Ditch area and Westbrook Drive. Next year, homes in the flood zone along Eastbrook Drive will be purchased as part of the State Boulevard project.

On a final note, I hope you and your family are enjoying your summer. This time of year, Fort Wayne sizzles with the excitement of community festivals, conventions, baseball games and other outdoor events at our parks, playgrounds and trails -- and this year is no exception. Have fun exploring the many events and activities our City has to offer!

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Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry
About This Author
A lifelong Fort Wayne resident, Mayor Thomas C. Henry is committed to public and community service. He was elected to his first term as Fort Wayne's Mayor November 6, 2007. Mayor Henry authors the "Message from the Mayor" column.
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