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MAYOR GRAHAM RICHARD

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This is such an exciting time for the City of Fort Wayne! Just a few days ago, I helped unveil a new blueprint for downtown Fort Wayne. More than a year in the making, the plan outlines steps the city, county, residents and businesses will take to make the central City "everybody's downtown."

The Downtown Initiative incorporates some wonderful ideas from our citizens. You have asked for a vibrant central city, day and night. In the next five years, the Downtown Initiative will be the blueprint for bringing new business, shopping, dining, entertainment, recreation and cultural attractions to the heart of Fort Wayne. This plan will then become the foundation for a 20-year comprehensive guide for downtown growth and development.

The blueprint calls for the creation of destination areas, including the Landing District, the Hospitality District, the Barr Street District and the Old Canal District. It calls for driver-friendly traffic networks and pedestrian-friendly plazas. It calls for increased parking and improved parking design. It calls for many more elements that will make downtown Fort Wayne healthy and attractive.

In addition to making downtown Fort Wayne more appealing to residents and visitors, this initiative also seeks to make the City an Information Center. With the creation of what I call a "digital downtown," Fort Wayne will deliver better services and lead the region as a model for linking people through technology. These improvements will drive Fort Wayne's economy forward and improve our citizens' quality of life. Because of our broadband technology initiative and our excellent local telecommunication companies, we are well on our way toward reaching this critical goal of creating a digital downtown.

This is an exciting time for Fort Wayne and all the City's residents and visitors. With continued support from the community, this downtown blueprint will quickly become a reality.

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