Deadline extended for Electric Works funding, mayor considers asking county for money

The city committed to $50 million of the funding. The mayor outlined a plan Wednesday, including asking the county to fund $12 million more.

Posted: Apr. 11, 2018 7:14 PM
Updated: Apr. 12, 2018 8:06 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT)- Mayor Tom Henry announced Wednesday funding for the Electric Works project must be secured by December of 2020, but gaining the necessary $65 million to make the vision come to life has proven harder than expected.

The mayor said Electric Works is still the plan for redevelopment of the old GE campus, and workers have already started testing the site.

"The administration is working very hard, and we have on a daily basis, to try and meet the needs of the developer, but obviously, a big part of that is the financial part of it," Mayor Henry said.

The city committed to $50 million of the funding. The mayor outlined a plan Wednesday, including asking the county to fund $12 million more.

"We were just looking for an additional revenue stream for the $12 million that was necessary. The city of Fort Wayne just does not have it," Henry said.

He's urging the public to be patient as the plans start to come together, but residents living in the area said the buildings are an eye sore.

A woman who did not want to be identified said the city should just, "Get rid" of the buildings.

She believes if the city can secure the funds, they'd be better used somewhere else.

"We pay taxes every time, all the time, and it just seems like our voices are never heard," she said.

Aaron Thomas, another person who lives near the campus, said the project could be a good idea, if the city can make it happen.

"I think it'd be great for the community. It'd help boost Fort Wayne's economy," Thomas said.

But still, people are left with questions. Where will the money come from? What will happen if the project doesn't make the December 2020 deadline?

"If it doesn't, I certainly hope it does, but you always have to have a backup plan, just in case, and that part of town, that campus, is a very valuable component to our downtown," Mayor Henry said.

Developers said they're still committed to making the project a reality.

"We are ready and willing and able to sit down with the mayor and county, and everyone involved to figure out how to pull that full 65 together and fill that gap," said Kevin Erb.

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