Waynedale Political Commentaries



Strategy to improve entries to Fort Wayne, enhance economic development

As you have seen in previous Message from the Mayor columns, I am committed to Fort Wayne’s commercial corridors and spurring economic development throughout our city.

One of those ways is to create a plan to improve and enhance entry points into Indiana’s second-largest city. Earlier this month, I welcomed the 14-member Gateway Advisory Committee at its first meeting as they start this very important work.

Our gateways influence a visitor’s first impression of Fort Wayne, and they are an essential element in economic development. As a result of stakeholder and public support for improving our gateways, I have charged planning staff to produce recommendations for our entries that will create a sense of place, instill a positive city image and promote investment.

The committee will assist the City’s planning staff over the next year to write a 10-year strategy to enhance the corridors leading into Fort Wayne from places such as interstates 69 and 469 and the airport or destinations such as the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum and downtown. When complete, the plan will go before City Council for adoption into the City’s comprehensive plan, Plan-It Allen.

The plan will address long-range and short-term recommendations to improve the function and aesthetics of existing and future gateways. Some projects can be implemented within the next year; others will take five to 10 years to implement.

It will include policies that encourage continued maintenance and enhancement of major gateway areas. Specific project recommendations could include landscaping, lighting, pavement design, signage and roadway design.

The plan will address both landmarks – a gateway at a single location such as the existing Fort Wayne bicentennial signs – and corridors, which extend along a street or highway such a streetscape improvement. Fort Wayne’s gateways may include a mixture of landmarks and corridors.

The committee members are:

Cheri Becker, Leadership Fort Wayne

Karl Bandemer, Fort Wayne-Allen County Economic Development Alliance

Dan O’Connell, Fort Wayne-Allen County Convention and Visitors Bureau

Jonathan Ray, Urban League

Irene Walters, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne

John Shoaff, City Council

Karen Goldner, City Council

Nick Hobbie, Lutheran Health Network

Rick Poinsatte, Steel Dynamics Inc.

Kevin McCrory, LandPlan Group

Nelson Peters, County Commissioners

John Morrison, downtown bank employee

Matt Kelley, One Lucky Guitar, Downtown Improvement District Board

Debra Williams, Parkview Health

Becker and Bandemer are serving as the group’s co-chairs

Tom Henry - Fort Wayne Mayor

A lifelong Fort Wayne resident, Mayor Thomas C. Henry is committed to public and community service. He was elected to his first term as Fort Wayne's Mayor November 6, 2007. Mayor Henry authors the "Message from the Mayor" column. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer