FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - Now that the new economic development agreement is in place, the Electric Works project can move towards closing and an eventual groundbreaking in 2021.
Congressman Jim Banks, R-IN, along with Fort Wayne City Council President Tom Didier, R-3rd District, and President of the Kelley Automotive Group Tom Kelley toured the site on Tuesday.
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Banks says he's excited that the project will head towards closing, which will create jobs for the area, but he recognizes the tough road developers had to go down to get things done,
"It’s no secret that this project has been on life support," Banks said.
Banks went on to praise the group of local officials and business owners to get the $62 million commitment from the Fort Wayne redevelopment commission back on the table.
"Because of the pushing by so many leaders in the community like Councilman Didier, the civic leaders that we have that are trying to give back and make it happen," Banks said. "Now we’re closing than ever to seeing this come to a reality."
Didier, who co-sponsored a bill with Councilman Glynn Hines, D -At-Large, to investigate the termination of the first economic development agreement, has said he did so to help push the project forward, and sees the vision of the project from progress made so far during environmental remediation.
"I’ve been here almost my entire life. I remember the vibrancy of what this looked like back in the 60s and 70s and how it slowly deteriorated," Didier said. "The purpose has changed, but the buildings are still here and now they’re going to have a different purpose."
Plans for the project will still include the Do It Best HQ, a steam school and other educational endeavors, but it has new partners like Tom Kelley.
He says it was important for him to make sure the project got to the starting line so the community can be improved.
Kelley explained he had been in contact with Didier, Mayor Tom Henry, D - Fort Wayne, and other business leaders since the cancellation of the EDA in August to get a deal done. He said, "I’m determined to do something here to help underprivileged kids. I’m not sure what that will be, but some way to offer higher education to kids that just can’t otherwise have that opportunity, in conjunction with the Boys & Girls club."
The Electric Works project is set for a closing date of Dec. 31 and groundbreaking is still set for January 2021.