As of late, many citizens have become involved with enhancing Waynedale’s neighborly community. There are many great ideas spawning from this movement that have produced quite a stir and bustle in our quiet divide of Fort Wayne, many of such ideas and plans involve representation and action from the city council. With the primary election coming up on May 3rd and the general election on November 8th later this year, The Waynedale News extended both Fort Wayne 4th district candidates (Mitch Harper & Mike Avila) an open forum to announce their candidacy, plans for Waynedale and an opportunity for you to get to know them better. As Waynedale covers majority of the 4th district, it is imperative that we, the people of Waynedale pay attention to our needs as neighbors and to be sure the candidate we choose best represents and addresses needs with great care and haste. Each of the following addresses have been written by the candidate themselves.

The Waynedale News would now like to introduce Mitch Harper, your current 4th district councilman running for re-election.

I have greatly appreciated the opportunity to represent the Waynedale community on the Fort Wayne City Council. The Waynedale ‘sense of place’ extends beyond Waynedale. As I have told fellow Council members and numerous community groups, Waynedale exists as a distinct community and residents are knitted together by family ties, churches, schools, a library and a sense of shared history.

As many folks know, I hand out ‘Waynedale Proud’ bags at the annual Memorial Day Parade. I am always gratified by the response of the many people who, do indeed, take pride in their community. Waynedale is where, as I tell others, people make things, mine things, and move things. It is a community that works.

Keeping Waynedale working – and keeping Fort Wayne working by setting the stage for economic  growth and job retention and creation – is my biggest focus.

Since the last municipal election in 2007 our country has experienced a deep economic shock that has left few untouched.

That’s why, on Council, I have been particularly proud of my service as the City Council appointee to the Fort Wayne Allen County Economic Development Alliance. That is the hub of efforts by the County, the City, business groups and other communities to coordinate efforts to draw new jobs to Fort Wayne and, most importantly, to ensure that employers already here have the attention of government in preserving and growing the employment base.

Waynedale has been seeing the benefit of those efforts as there are numerous expansions planned for the Waynedale area and the airport that exceed those of other areas of the city. Yet, the pain of our country’s economic downturn is still felt by far too many.

I have also led efforts to open the financial books of Fort Wayne to greater transparency. It’s your money you should know where your tax dollars go.
I have bulldogged and prodded the County for construction of the Belle Vista bridge, been an advocate for street improvements in Waynedale and an advocate for safety improvements such as building sidewalks where those sidewalks have long been needed.

The City of Fort Wayne sometimes spends too much money on less important things and diverts money from neighborhood projects which helps keep up the community, and preserves property values, and the attractiveness of housing.
I have been tough on spending decisions by our city government. I am not a rubber stamp and I’ll be tough to ensure that the 4th District’s priorities are met.

The Waynedale News would now like to introduce Mike Av… well it looks like he’s going to do it for us, thanks Mike, your turn.

My name is Mike Avila, and I am the Democratic candidate for Fort Wayne City Council 4th District. Until I was eight years old, I lived in Waynedale in a home located where the public library now sits. I attended St. Therese School, and I have fond memories of days spent with my brothers and sisters on the playground. Even though we moved to Aboite Township, my parents kept the same friends from Waynedale for over 40 years! That is the type of community I remember. I believe those roots give me a personal connection to the community, and I want to see the best for Waynedale when it comes to city services and opportunities.

After attending Bishop Luers High School and Indiana University for a couple years, I went to work in the construction industry where I have remained for some thirty-six years and now serve as Vice-President of the Northeast Indiana Building Trades and Vice Chairman of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers. Having a background in construction provides me with the ability to envision infrastructure that will allow enduring improvements. Additionally, I am active in my neighborhood association, Eagle Creek, located in Aboite Township.

I believe any area can improve to become even better, and Waynedale is no exception. In the future, I see a need for more sidewalks and streets with curb upgrades that will enhance the pedestrian and vehicle traffic. I know a group has been organized to improve the Waynedale area, and as your representative on the city council, I would work closely with this group of leaders to bring additional services already available from the city of Fort Wayne, such as sharing the cost of storefront upgrades for small businesses which are the backbone of this community, to the area. Major intersections should be occupied and thriving with businesses, and there are incentives available to help encourage investments in these areas.

People from the surrounding area need to be attracted to Waynedale, to do business here, visit restaurants, or just go to the library or the park. I look forward to a better link to the bike paths and greenway trails as the plan to connect these areas is expanded. Finally, I like the idea of a central structure, partnered with our city of Fort Wayne that can serve as a meeting place for groups and organizations and be enjoyed by all of the area residents.

I want to hear from you, the citizens. You have ideas and knowledge of what the primary needs are; I would just be the facilitator to help bring those ideas into reality. I look forward to meeting you soon.

The Waynedale News Staff
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The Waynedale News Staff

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