I want to take this opportunity to update you on some exciting initiatives taking place in the City of Fort Wayne.
We’re now in position to move forward with the next steps for the North River property. The City now owns the property, which is comprised of 29 acres bounded by Clinton, Fourth and Harrison streets. The property serves as an important gateway into downtown and will be a complement to the positive progress being made with riverfront development efforts. The site was previously used as a rail yard and scrap yard, dating back to 1902. The land has not been actively used since 2006.
Last November, the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission became the title holder of the North River property, City Council approved assuming responsibility for any future environmental remediation, if required, at the site and the Allen County-Fort Wayne Capital Improvement Board (CIB) approved a $4.63 million funding commitment to the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission to purchase the property. Property tax dollars were not used to purchase the property. Also, last November, the City and Calhoun Investments, LLC completed the closing to make the transaction official.
Next steps in the process:
*The City is working with the Indiana Brownfields Program to receive a letter indicating the program is comfortable with the North River property being used for future development. The program may ask for some additional soil sampling work to be conducted. This is a customary practice when a site goes from one type of use to a different type of use.
*The City has issued a request for qualifications (RFQ) to determine interest and expertise from the private sector for development opportunities. The RFQ is available at www.fwcommunitydevelopment.org. Once qualifications are reviewed, the entities that meet the qualifications set out by the City would move to a request for proposals (RFP) process to submit their formal proposals for development of the North River property.
*This year, the City anticipates moving forward to have the North River property rezoned to allow for future development that’s more compatible for the area than the previous industrial use.
*City leaders will continue to keep nearby neighborhoods and stakeholders informed about the North River development process as it moves forward.
The future use of the property will determine the necessary site preparation or remediation.
I’m also encouraged by the work being done by Fort Wayne UNITED as we’ve unveiled a new outreach video geared toward raising community awareness about the homicide challenge in Fort Wayne and the importance of preventing violence and providing positive opportunities for black men and boys.
The video takes a serious look at Fort Wayne’s homicide issue and the need for collaboration from everyone in the community to prevent future homicides. The video will be shared with organizations locally and across the country as a way to share the message of the importance of investing in the lives of individuals and families who need it most. The Chapel donated all of the video services to make the project possible.
As part of the ongoing outreach and education efforts, community members are encouraged to share stories on social media using #couldabeenme about positive steps they’re taking or know are being taken to reduce negative outcomes for individuals and families.
We’re also asking the public to get involved with Fort Wayne UNITED by volunteering. The new video and volunteer opportunities are available at www.FortWayneUNITED.org. Fort Wayne UNITED will host a community forum in the near future for individuals and groups to learn more about how to get involved to make Fort Wayne the best and safest city possible. The specific date, time and location will be announced soon.
A few weeks ago, a first of its kind My Brother’s Keeper Sunday was held at 14 churches across Fort Wayne. Churches who are part of the Fort Wayne UNITED clergy subcommittee shared unified messages addressing violence and the impact of homicides on families and the community.
Fort Wayne UNITED is a mayoral initiative started by my office in 2016. Under the direction of Iric Headley, it places two national efforts, Cities United and My Brother’s Keeper, into one program to provide positive opportunities and hope for black men and boys and make a meaningful difference with an emphasis on listening, input, letting voices be heard, and engagement.
Fort Wayne UNITED’s vision is for every black male in Fort Wayne to be respected and valued with an opportunity to reach their full potential. The mission is to advocate for and implement policies, practices and procedures to ensure equity and opportunity for black fathers, brothers and sons at home, work, school, and the community through collaborative efforts.