Area residents are invited to review the draft recommendations of the Southeast Strategy Update 2020, which is designed to encourage new investment in the southeast quadrant of Fort Wayne.
The draft recommendations were developed by the City of Fort Wayne’s Planning & Policy Department, in partnership with Sixth District City Councilwoman Sharon Tucker, the Southeast Area Partnership and an advisory committee comprised of southeast area community leaders. Hundreds of southeast residents also provided input through a week-long series of engagement events last October.
The recommendations were discussed during a Facebook Live event August 26, 2020 at 6 p.m. on Councilwoman Tucker’s Facebook page. It was also shared on the Fort Wayne Neighborhood’s Facebook Page, @FWNeighborhoods and broadcasted live on City TV, channel 28 on Frontier and channel 58 on Comcast. Tucker was joined by Southeast Area Partnership President, Cherise M. Dixie, Planning Director, Paul Spoelhof and Senior Planner, Russ Garriott.
“I am thankful the community’s joint efforts have led us to an updated Strategy to advance Economic Development Southeast, said Councilwoman Tucker. “Now that the plans have been drawn, we as a City must commit to seeing the visions to completion.”
“I am encouraged that the City of Fort Wayne thought the 2007 Plan was worth updating,” said Dixie. “I am hopeful that the renewed commitment will actually lead to much needed investment in the southeast, which in turn, will benefit us all.”
The Southeast Strategy Update 2020 is an update to a 2007 plan, created when Councilman Glynn Hines represented the Sixth District, that focused primarily on residential strategies and resulted in new investment in the Renaissance Pointe Neighborhood. The plan update provides recommendations and action steps that focus on economic development, housing, transportation and infrastructure, community pride, public spaces and zoning.
The draft recommendations involve steps for increasing investment in the southeast quadrant over the next ten years. The recommendations are:
• Focus investment in 4 key Southeast locations, which include the Southtown area, the McKinnie Street and South Anthony Boulevard area, the Pontiac Street corridor from South Calhoun Street to South Anthony Boulevard, and the Calhoun Street corridor from Grand Street to Pontiac Street.
• Enhance the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem by providing access to low-interest loans and grants, real estate options for start-ups and education opportunities for small business owners.
• Pursue rezoning for four southeast locations, including the Calhoun Street corridor from Grand Street to Pontiac Street, the Pontiac Street corridor from south Calhoun Street to South Anthony Boulevard, the area around Southgate Plaza and Decatur Road and the Southtown area. The rezoning efforts would involve eliminating non-compatible uses near residential areas.
• Leverage existing resources and create new mechanisms to support small retail businesses. The plan recommends pursuing establishment of a CDFI, or community development finance institution, which could focus resources in the southeast quadrant.
• Improve access to health and wellness services and fresh food options.
• Promote Southeast Fort Wayne through a coordinated communication and marketing strategy.
• Create more housing options, including more market rate as well as quality, affordable housing.
“I’m grateful to all the stakeholders who worked so hard to develop this strategy,” said Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry. City planners will work to incorporate comments and suggestions from the public into the draft plan and hope to present it to the Plan Commission and City Council for adoption into the Comprehensive Plan by the end of the year.
Implementation of the plan will require collaboration among City of Fort Wayne departments, the Southeast Area Partnership, local and regional economic development agencies and community organizations.