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MAYOR GRAHAM RICHARD

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Fort Wayne and cities across the country currently are facing difficult economic challenges. Revenues are below estimates, budgets are being cut, some governments are laying off employees. In this time of recession, restructuring and reassessment it becomes even more important for the City of Fort Wayne to invest its limited resources in projects that will grow our economy.

That is why I have committed $1 million in new money to the Northeast Indiana Corporate Council's job creation fund. The Corporate Council is to be applauded for its challenge to the community to raise $20 million that will be used to support economic growth and development in Fort Wayne and throughout Northeast Indiana.

I have also requested that members of the Fort Wayne City Council come forward with their own $1 million commitment to this new job creation fund. I believe that these funds should be used to enhance incentives the City already offers targeted businesses seeking to locate in Fort Wayne or expand their existing operations.

I strongly support the Corporate Council's leadership, which will help the City of Fort Wayne complete many of the initiatives suggested in our Economic Development Action Plan, developed in 2000. The Corporate Council's plan to focus on life sciences, aviation and advanced manufacturing very much mirrors the City's plans. Already the City of Fort Wayne has committed $1.5 million to the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center's Biomedical Research Center project. We fully support efforts to expand Fort Wayne International Airport, which will mean more jobs, more aviation businesses and more international trade for our community. As Fort Wayne focuses on expanding advanced manufacturing businesses we will continue to encourage and support life-long learning as a way for adults to adapt to our changing economy. At the same time we will continue to invest in downtown, parks and other quality of place initiatives that both attract and retain quality jobs.

I would like to challenge local businesses to make their own contribution to the Corporate Council's job creation fund. In conjunction with Governor O'Bannon's Energize Indiana Program we will add more jobs, increase overall wages and stop Fort Wayne and Northeast Indiana's brain drain.

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