City Councilmen Dr. John Crawford, Tom Didier, Tom Freistroffer and Glynn Hines recently provided an update on the proposal to invest in neighborhood sidewalks and alleys and riverfront development through an adjustment to the local income tax.

An ordinance has been introduced to increase the local income tax by .15 percent. A public hearing and City Council discussion on the proposal will occur on Tuesday, June 27. A second public hearing and continued City Council discussion and final vote are scheduled for Tuesday, July 11.

A change to the local income tax could generate the necessary money, $9.6 million per year for the City of Fort Wayne, to advance phases two and three of riverfront development, add new sidewalks throughout Fort Wayne and address areas of Fort Wayne Community Schools and East Allen County Schools that lack sidewalks for children. The plan would also allow for expanding the maintenance program for existing sidewalks and repairs to alleys throughout the City.

Neighborhood sidewalks and alleys highlights:
-Investment of $40 million over the next 10-15 years
-Build 40 miles of new sidewalks for connectivity from neighborhoods to schools. The City has 1,600 miles of sidewalks
-Repairs on existing sidewalks – up to 200 additional projects with property owners
-Invest in and increase life span of the City’s 150 miles of alleys

Twenty-four elementary schools with neighborhood to school sidewalk connectivity needs have been identified and 63 neighborhoods with alleys in need of improvements have been identified. Some locations in the Waynedale area would be part of the planned improvements. A complete list can be found at

If the proposal is approved, several neighborhood sidewalk and alley projects would begin in 2018.

Riverfront development highlights:
-Riverbank stabilization – $4 million beginning in 2018
-Riverfront phase II – $25 million for continued development of public spaces between the Wells Street and Ewing
-Street bridges with possible construction beginning in 2019
-Riverfront phase III – $50 million for development of public spaces between the Ewing Street and Van Buren Street bridges with possible construction beginning in 2024
-Expand public amenities/Increase flood capacity of public space/Create private development sites near the river

I support the proposal as a way to continue the positive momentum and investments being experienced in Fort Wayne and position the community and region as a point of destination for job and business growth by providing the public with unique quality of life amenities and strong neighborhoods.

The average household with an income of $49,000 would see an increase of $6 per month or $73 per year if the local income tax is adjusted by .15 percent. Fort Wayne/Allen County has and would continue to have the lowest income tax rate of almost all surrounding counties. Individuals on fixed incomes would not have their Social Security income taxed under this proposal.

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