I have proudly served as your mayor now for more than 100 days. The first three months in office have been a whirlwind of activity. Our City successfully fought a flood, realigned our staff to create the new position of Hispanic/Latino liaison, continues forward with renewed in interest in downtown development while Harrison Square is under construction, and Fort Wayne has been in the national spotlight for presidential candidates and the “Oprah’s Big Give” television show.
I hope you had the chance to join me, community leaders, Indianapolis Colts Coach Tony Dungy and four Colts players including Bob Sanders April 12 at Headwaters Park East to celebrate the achievements of Oprah’s Big Give Fort Wayne Trails. The City and its partner trail organizations raised more than $1 million. We had more than 3,000 people to come and celebrate. Thank you to all the staff and volunteers from the City, Aboite New Trails, the Greenway Consortium, New Haven/Adams Township Park and Recreation Department and Northwest Allen Trails who made the Headwaters celebration and the individual walks or rides a great accomplishment.
Starting with $10,000 in seed money given to Indiana’s NewsCenter and Aboite New Trails, the City, the partner organizations, concerned individuals and corporations raised more than $1 million of in-kind and cash donations to continue to expand and develop our popular interconnected trail network. We also had a camera crew in from “Oprah’s Big Give” to tape the events and may feature Fort Wayne on the season finale in April.
I’d also like to invite you to the neighborhood partnership meetings in May to discuss the City’s financial future as we evaluate the Statehouse’s property tax reform effects on local budgets. This plan, approved by Gov. Mitch Daniels, provides tax savings to some Hoosier homeowners. However it can reduce revenue for local governments who provide core services like fire and police protection, street repair, schools and libraries.
At the partnership meetings, I will be ready to discuss preliminary steps for the 2009 budget, the first one under the new property tax restructuring plan. I am seeking citizen input to help the City set budget priorities. I want to hear your ideas. The May area partnership meetings are at 6:30 p.m. at the following locations:
•Southwest: May 21 at Taylor University’s Eicher Commons, 1025 W. Rudisill
•Southeast: May 14 at Calvary 3rd Presbyterian Church, 4700 S. Anthony
•Northeast: May 8 at Good Shepherd United Methodist Church, 4700 Vance Ave.
•Northwest: May 15 at North Ridge Baptist Church, 1300 E. Cook Road
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