In my State of the City address a couple of weeks ago I talked about both our neighborhood main streets and our downtown “main” streets. Creating an environment that promotes job growth and private investment is how we make life better for all of us. That’s why streets and sidewalks matter. Last year we finished more than 60 miles of street repairs including completion of a major upgrade to the Ardmore and Jefferson Avenue Intersection and work on Bluffton Road.
All over the City, businesses are growing, sending an upbeat message to customers and other businesses that Fort Wayne is a great place to locate. No place is this more true than when you look downtown.
Well over a decade ago, we made a collective decision that a vibrant downtown matters. It is a measure of our pride, vitality and the potential for continued economic growth. When you come downtown, all you have to do is look around to see the progress we are making.
Over 400,000 people come downtown each year for TinCaps baseball games at Parkview Field. If you haven’t attended a game yet, I heartily encourage you to come and cheer on our TinCaps at Parkview Field this summer. Last year was a record year for activities at Headwater Park. Almost every weekend throughout the spring and summer there was a fair, festival or other special event at Headwaters. We have a lively and growing fine arts district with an expanded art museum. Restaurants are expanding their hours and capping it all is the new Courtyard by Marriott hotel that opened last August. The new hotel is attracting conventions that once picked larger cities.
Harrison Square has become the catalyst that we have hoped it would be. Sometimes it has been difficult for us as a community – and for me as Mayor – to be patient as the economic downturn and the tight credit market that has kept the last piece of Harrison Square on hold. But progress continues and I’ve been thrilled to announce that the developer of The Harrison now has written commitments for financing that will move the project forward. PNC Bank will act as lead bank and others may be involved in the debt that will allow the project to begin this year. The developer has a sufficient number of signed leases in hand to satisfy requirements of the banks. The project will include retail on the first floor, offices on the second floor and approximately 44 apartments on the third and fourth floors.
Why should what’s happening downtown matter to you? A thriving downtown along with our vibrant neighborhoods helps create an environment that promotes job growth and private investment – an environment in which businesses can prosper and families can thrive. This is the way that we make life better for all of us and help to ensure the economic progress of our community and the region. Downtown has again become a destination not just for businesses but also for family fun. Come downtown soon and see for yourself.
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