I have some important news to pass on! For several years I've advocated opening Fort Wayne Police Department. precinct stations in each quadrant of the city. As you are probably aware, the FWPD did have posts at Southgate Shopping Center as well as at Precious Blood Church until they were shut down a few years ago. Recently Mayor Graham Richard and Police Chief Rusty York announced that a special police post will be opened at the Jefferson Pointe Shopping Center. Besides enhancing the safety of shoppers at Jefferson Pointe the new police post will also make it more convenient for police officers to enter computer data and communicate with the FWPD headquarters on Creighton Ave. I hope that this is the start of a trend toward a district station in each quadrant of the city!
I happen to serve on the Urban Enterprise Board that works hard to keep current jobs and bring new jobs to the Urban Enterprise Area in the central core of Fort Wayne. I've come to believe strongly that the first step to successful economic development—especially in a very shaky national economy—is to support established businesses as well as new enterprises here in Fort Wayne. The UEA does exactly that. Some of the businesses in the Urban Enterprise Zone include Slater Steel, GE, and BAE Systems Controls on Taylor. Those zone businesses have benefited over the years and management and workers are aware of the City's support. Due to changes in state tax law much of the funding mechanism for the Urban Enterprise Area has been eliminated. I am lobbying our state legislators for their support of future funding of the UEA and I encourage you to do the same. The Urban Enterprise Area is an important tool to keep jobs in Fort Wayne!
I've recently had the opportunity to spend some time with Homeland Security Director Bernie Beier discussing the safety of our city. Beier has extensive military security experience and is an excellent addition to the public safety staff of our city. For a long time I've felt that we needed to place more emphasis on protecting our city from an event such as an attack by a radical group. In the past almost all of the emphasis has been on responding quickly after an occurrence as opposed to prevention. Fort Wayne will benefit from the Bernie Beier's expertise and a stronger emphasis on preventative measures.
There's some recent good news for those living in Indian Village and the south side of Fort Wayne. An investment firm plans to carry out extensive renovations of the Indian Village Apartments with new windows, new washers and dryers, and many other improvements. The firm that will be upgrading Indian Village Apartments was very proactive in arranging for a well-attended meeting with many of the current residents to tell them about the project as well as to answer their questions. Once this project is completed there should be many satisfied apartment residents.
As you've probably read, there is a good possibility that the West Nile Virus epidemic will be even a bigger problem in 2003 than it was last year. The good news is that plans are well underway to make a major effort to prevent West Nile Virus infections in Allen County. A planning group with representatives of the Health Department, City and County Governments, School Systems, Park Department, and environmental groups has been meeting regularly to develop plans to fight the West Nile "bug". There's likely going to be a major effort to reduce mosquito- breeding sites. It's never too early to locate any stagnant water in your yard and neighborhood (including poorly draining gutters) since eliminating (or treating) breeding sites will go a long way toward fighting the Culex mosquito which carries the virus. Keep your eyes on the media for more information.
Call or email me with any questions or suggestions. Thanks for your involvement including occasional emails!