VISIONS FOR FORMER GE SITE – Message From The Mayor

I recently provided an update on the City of Fort Wayne’s position on the Electric Works project.

I want all of you to know that my administration continues to support the redevelopment plans for the former General Electric (GE) property and want to see it succeed.

For the past several months, a working group at my direction and comprised of representatives from the City of Fort Wayne, Allen County, Allen County-Fort Wayne Capital Improvement Board (CIB), Greater Fort Wayne Inc., and Electric Works developer RTM Ventures has been working as partners on a number of due diligence items in a collective effort to help make the project a reality. I’ve continued to emphasize that all parties involved recognize a lot of work is ahead, particularly on financials and getting leases signed by tenants.

As Mayor, it’s my duty to ask the difficult questions to ensure our community’s finances remain strong now and in the future. Raising pertinent questions and possible concerns aren’t indicators that there’s a lack of support from me and my administration. We simply must look out for the best interests of our entire community. The City’s recent proposal of $50 million in local funding to go toward the Electric Works initiative demonstrates our willingness to make a substantial investment to assist in the redevelopment of the former GE property.

I congratulate the RTM Ventures team for its innovative approach and vision to bring office, retail, residential and educational uses to the former GE site. I continue to be optimistic about the viability of Electric Works and am looking forward to what the future holds for the project. However, with a project of this size and magnitude, it’s imperative for the development team to demonstrate to all local governing bodies and the public that a comprehensive and sustainable financial and tenant plan will be forthcoming.

Outline of ongoing and upcoming action steps:
*Working with the CIB to secure the market analysis for the project
*Working with the CIB to secure the financial analysis for the project regarding funding streams necessary to support bond financing
*Work with Allen County to secure their financial commitment for the project
*Continue the evaluation of the viability of prospective tenants
*Obtain from RTM Ventures the due diligence items that were previously requested
*After obtaining the due diligence items from RTM Ventures, work will continue with the various boards, public agencies and elected officials to respond to any questions and concerns
*Finalize the development agreement with RTM Ventures, which will confirm their commitments and obligations to the project and the conditions for local funding assistance

We’re fortunate to be able to have a healthy dialogue and debate about important issues in Fort Wayne. Most communities in Indiana and across the country aren’t in the positive position we’re in with meaningful investments and new projects taking place in downtown and in every quadrant of our City. It’s critical for all of us to work together and engage with the public as we continue to determine the most appropriate next steps to keep the process moving forward.

I also want to inform you of a volunteer opportunity that might be of interest to you.

The Community Development Division is looking for volunteers to support our newly created Public Art Program. Anyone interested in information about volunteering should visit www.fwcommunitydevelopment.org/publicart.

Volunteers are needed to fill a number of roles, including sitting on the Public Art Commission, a 13-member board that will oversee the Public Art Program to review and select art to be displayed in public spaces. Volunteers are also needed for Public Art Selection Committees. For each public art project, a committee will be formed to oversee the artistic selection and installation of the art. Non-voting volunteers are also needed to provide counsel in specific fields, such as art, design, community development, construction, engineering or architecture.

The City of Fort Wayne worked with Arts United to research and develop the Public Art Program, which was approved in March by City Council and myself. One of the first steps in implementing the program is to create a master plan for future locations of public art.

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.

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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