MESSAGE FROM THE MAYOR

DOWNTOWN SURVEY RESULTS SHOW PUBLIC PREFERENCE FOR DURABLE DESIGN

 

Input from nearly 700 people to help create Downtown Design Manual

Fort Wayne residents have once again expressed support for thoughtful design in downtown Fort Wayne through the downtown design survey earlier this fall. An internal team and an advisory group will use the survey’s information as they create a Downtown Design Manual by early next year.

I believe engaging the public in the revision process is a critical element to ensure that we are planning with people, not for them. We received an outstanding response from the public and will use this information as we shape policy that will leave a lasting legacy for our downtown and entire community.

Respondents expressed a decided preference for an appealing pedestrian experience in downtown, particularly for anything that includes landscaping, planters and greenery. Other preferences included the use of durable materials such as brick and stone, street-level windows, lower ground-mounted signage and wide, unobstructed sidewalks.

Community Development Director John Urbahns says Fort Wayne residents consistently tell us they care about how their city looks. Information from this survey as well as the input from the comprehensive plan process and the Downtown Blueprint points to how people value and appreciate the aesthetic experience of public spaces.

We will use the survey and information from the internal team and advisory group to create a Downtown Design Manual. The existing Downtown Design Guidelines is an advisory document that provides general recommendations. The new manual will continue to have recommendations but may include required elements that would be incorporated into a zoning ordinance amendment, which would need City Council approval. Required elements would need to be quantifiable and not based on a specific taste or style. Once complete, the draft design manual will be made available for public review and comment.

One of the things that makes downtown Fort Wayne an interesting place is the variety of styles: the Allen County Courthouse, One Summit Square, the Lincoln Tower and the Grand Wayne Center for example. We want our design manual to maintain architectural diversity while encouraging features we know Fort Wayne residents appreciate and want to see more of.

The survey, taken by 693 people, had respondents evaluate building materials, signage, sidewalks, windows and other design elements of buildings and public spaces. Respondents could also indicate if the feature should be encouraged or required. A full summary of the responses is available at www.cityoffortwayne.org/designsurvey.

The Waynedale News Staff

The Waynedale News Staff

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