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Mayor Henry makes 11th annual state of the city address

Mayor Tom Henry made his 11th annual State of the City address Wednesday at the Grand Wayne Center.

Posted: Feb 14, 2018 1:25 PM
Updated: Feb 15, 2018 8:56 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT)- Mayor Tom Henry made his 11th annual State of the City address Wednesday at the Grand Wayne Center.  Mayor Henry focused heavily on the development we've seen in 2017, and what we can expect to see in 2018, calling Fort Wayne a destination city. 

"A lot of the initiatives that we began last year are coming to fruition this year, like Cityscape Flats, and Superior Lofts, and a number of others," Mayor Henry said.

The mayor said the heart of any city is a thriving downtown. That's why Fort Wayne has been on the rise.

"We also are very happy to announce a few new items that are going to be added to our agenda for the years to come, so that makes it a very exciting time to live in Fort Wayne," Mayor Henry said.

Up and coming projects such as the Riverfront, Superior Lofts, Skyline Tower, and Electric Works are all reasons Fort Wayne has been called one of the best places to live. Allen County was also ranked fourth out of 92 Indiana counties in tourism spending.

Anthony Huffman has lived in Fort Wayne for over 20 years, and says there's always something to do.

"The Embassy is ranked one of the best in the world, we've got the Fort Wayne Children's zoo," Huffman said.

Others are excited for the growing economy and job opportunities.

"Which is what we need right now. It's more work for people and people are having a hard time as it is," said Trevor Hunnicutt, who works in Fort Wayne.

We can expect to see projects such as Superior Lofts and Skyline Tower completed this year.

The full State of the City speech:

THANK YOU, MIKE, FOR THAT WARM INTRODUCTION.
THE COMMUNITY AND I APPRECIATE YOUR LEADERSHIP OVERSEEING THE FORT
WAYNE TINCAPS AND PARKVIEW FIELD, THE NUMBER ONE BALLPARK
EXPERIENCE IN THE COUNTRY.
ALL OF US IN FORT WAYNE ADMIRE AND RESPECT YOUR PROFESSIONALISM
AND YOUR POSITIVE APPROACH IN PROMOTING OUR CITY.
FRIENDS, FAMILY, ELECTED OFFICIALS, HONORED GUESTS, RESIDENTS OF FORT
WAYNE, WELCOME.
AS I LOOK OUT AT ALL OF YOU, I SEE YOUR ENTHUSIASM, EXCITEMENT AND
ANTICIPATION BECAUSE OF WHAT FORT WAYNE IS NOW AND WHAT WE CAN
BECOME IN THE FUTURE.
NOW, WITH THIS BEING VALENTINE'S DAY, IT SEEMS TO ME TO BE A PERFECT
TIME TO SHARE WITH YOU MY LOVE, PASSION AND COMMITMENT FOR FORT
WAYNE.
MY FRIENDS, THERE’S NO DOUBT FORT WAYNE IS ON THE RISE.
WE’RE TRULY EXPERIENCING MOMENTUM AND INVESTMENTS LIKE NEVER
BEFORE, ESTABLISHING OURSELVES AS A DESTINATION CITY.
I SEE IT EACH DAY AS I VISIT WITH BUSINESS LEADERS, RESIDENTS AND
STUDENTS.
WE’VE BECOME A CITY THAT BELIEVES IN ITSELF; ONE THAT CONSTANTLY
WORKS TO KEEP RISING TO ITS FULL POTENTIAL.
NOW, ALL OF US KNOW THAT ALL SUCCESSFUL CITIES MUST HAVE A
DOWNTOWN THAT’S AT THE HEART OF ITS MOMENTUM, HELPING MAKE
EVERYTHING MOVE IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.
AND, IN 2018, YOU’RE GOING TO SEE DOWNTOWN FORT WAYNE CONTINUE TO
RISE, LITERALLY, WITH SEVERAL PROJECTS BREAKING GROUND AND A NUMBER
OF OTHER INITIATIVES REACHING COMPLETION.
ONE OF MY FAVORITE PROJECTS IS THE LANDING BEING LED BY THE MODEL
GROUP, A NATIONALLY-RECOGNIZED DEVELOPER.
HOUSING, RETAIL, OFFICE SPACE, AND RESTAURANTS WILL BRING LIFE TO AN
AREA THAT'S BEEN PATIENTLY WAITING TO SEE A RENEWAL OF ENERGY AND
EXCITEMENT.
IT’S GREAT THAT THIS PARTICULAR INVESTMENT IS STARTING NOW AND WILL
REDEVELOP THIS IMPORTANT, HISTORIC BLOCK.
NEARBY, THE 10-MILLION DOLLAR SUPERIOR LOFTS PROJECT IS GOING TO WRAP
UP CONSTRUCTION THIS YEAR, TOO.
THE FINAL STAGES OF REVITALIZING THIS FORMER VACANT PROPERTY WITH 72
APARTMENTS AND COMMERCIAL SPACE WILL BRING EVEN MORE PEOPLE TO
DOWNTOWN.
AND, NEXT TO THE LANDING AND SUPERIOR LOFTS WILL BE CONTINENTAL
PROPERTY GROUP’S 61-MILLION DOLLAR MIXED-USE DEVELOPMENT.
IT WILL BE THE VERY FIRST PRIVATE DEVELOPMENT ALONG THE RIVERFRONT.
WORK ON THIS INITIATIVE WILL START THIS YEAR AND FEATURE APARTMENTS,
RETAIL SPACE, OFFICES, AND A PARKING GARAGE WITH MORE THAN ONETHOUSAND
SPACES.
AND, HUNDREDS OF THOSE SPACES WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR PUBLIC USE WHEN
VISITING DOWNTOWN.
REPRESENTATIVES FROM CONTINENTAL PROPERTY GROUP HAVE JOINED US
TODAY.
WILL YOU PLEASE STAND AS WE GIVE YOU A WARM WELCOME.
FORT WAYNE IS HONORED TO HAVE YOU AS PART OF OUR COMMUNITY.
I WOULD BET THAT PART OF CONTINENTAL’S INVESTMENT DECISION WAS AS A
DIRECT RESULT OF PHASE ONE OF OUR RIVERFRONT DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS –
PROMENADE PARK.
THIS NEWEST PARK SPACE WILL OPEN IN 2019 AND SERVE AS A TREMENDOUS
COMMUNITY GATHERING PLACE.
LED BY AL MOLL AND OUR PARKS DEPARTMENT, WE’RE SETTING THE STAGE
FOR MORE AND MORE DEVELOPMENT.
IN FACT, WE’VE ISSUED A REQUEST FOR QUALIFICATIONS TO GET STARTED ON
PHASES TWO AND THREE OF OUR RIVERFRONT INITIATIVE.
OVER NEAR THE LIBRARY, THE SKYLINE TOWER WILL ALSO FINISH THIS YEAR.
APARTMENTS, RETAIL, OFFICE SPACE, AND A RUTH’S CHRIS STEAK HOUSE ARE
PART OF THE 40-MILLION DOLLAR PROJECT.
IT’S AN EXCELLENT ADDITION TO THE OVER 100-MILLION DOLLAR ASH SKYLINE
PLAZA COMPLEX.
AND, RIGHT ACROSS FROM PARKVIEW FIELD, CONSTRUCTION IS WRAPPING UP
ON CITYSCAPE FLATS.
THE APARTMENTS THERE ARE CURRENTLY OPEN, AND THE TOWNHOMES WILL
BE FINISHED SOON.
NOW, LET ME ASK YOU, HOW MANY CITIES DO YOU KNOW ARE GOING TO HAVE
TWO NEW HOTELS BEING BUILT BLOCKS FROM EACH OTHER AT THE SAME
TIME?
WELL, FIRST IN FORT WAYNE, WE’LL BE INTRODUCED TO A SPECTACULAR
BOUTIQUE HOTEL LED BY PROVENANCE HOTELS AND FORT WAYNE’S OWN
BARBARA BAEKGAARD.
THIS UNIQUE DEVELOPMENT AT THE CORNER OF MAIN AND HARRISON IS
DESIGNED SPECIFICALLY FOR FORT WAYNE AND WILL START CONSTRUCTION
THIS SPRING.
IT WILL HAVE 125 ROOMS, RESTAURANTS, RETAIL, AND A ROOFTOP
ENTERTAINMENT SPACE.
IT DOESN'T STOP THERE, THOUGH, AS WHITE LODGING WILL ALSO START
CONSTRUCTION ON A 136-ROOM HAMPTON INN & SUITES NEXT TO PARKVIEW FIELD.
THERE IS NO QUESTION THIS HOTEL WILL HELP MEET THE DEMAND OF OUR
GROWING CONVENTION AND TOURISM INDUSTRY.
REPRESENTATIVES OF BOTH HOTEL DEVELOPMENTS ARE WITH US TODAY.
WILL YOU PLEASE STAND TO BE RECOGNIZED.
WE APPRECIATE YOUR COLLECTIVE COMMITMENT TO INVESTING IN FORT
WAYNE.
ALL OF THESE PROJECTS ARE PART OF THE BIGGER PICTURE WE’RE PAINTING IN
FORT WAYNE.
AND, I NEED TO LET YOU KNOW A LOT OF THIS WORK HAS BEEN DONE WITH
HELP FROM THE ALLEN COUNTY COMMISSIONERS.
I WANT TO PERSONALLY THANK COMMISSIONERS BLOOM, BROWN AND PETERS
FOR BEING GOOD PARTNERS AS WE COLLABORATE TO MAKE OUR COMMUNITY
A BETTER PLACE.
OUR INITIATIVES ARE BRINGING ABOUT A NEW SENSE OF PRIDE AND AN EVEN
GREATER WILLINGNESS TO EMBRACE CURRENT RESIDENTS AND WELCOME
NEW PEOPLE TO OUR CITY.
AS A RESULT, HOSPITALITY CONTINUES TO BE A CRITICAL BUSINESS SECTOR IN
FORT WAYNE.
FOR INSTANCE, THE GRAND WAYNE CENTER HOSTED 47 CONVENTIONS LAST
YEAR AND EIGHT OF THEM WERE BRAND NEW.
AND, THESE EVENTS BROUGHT IN GUESTS FROM ACROSS THE UNITED STATES
AND THE WORLD.
THROUGH THEIR EFFORTS AND OUR PARTNERS AT VISIT FORT WAYNE, WE
WELCOMED NEARLY SIX MILLION VISITORS TO THE COMMUNITY.
TOURISTS SPENT MORE THAN 600-MILLION DOLLARS TO HELP BOOST OUR
LOCAL ECONOMY.
AND, OVER 11-THOUSAND JOBS ARE SUPPORTED BY TOURISM.
THERE’S NO QUESTION VISITORS ENHANCE OUR QUALITY OF LIFE, RAISE OUR
PROFILE AND SUSTAIN OUR JOB MARKET.
YOU KNOW, ALLEN COUNTY NOW RANKS 4TH OUT OF 92 INDIANA COUNTIES IN
TOURISM SPENDING.
WE ALSO KNOW PEOPLE COMING TO FORT WAYNE WANT TO EXPERIENCE
EXCELLENT DINING OPPORTUNITIES, AND WE'RE FORTUNATE TO HAVE SO
MANY OPTIONS.
TODAY, I WOULD LIKE TO HIGHLIGHT TWO OF THEM.
FARM TO FORK DINING AT THE TOLON IS HELPING PUT FORT WAYNE ON THE
MAP WITH FINE DINING.
THEIR UNIQUE APPROACH AND SEASONAL MENU OFFERINGS MAKE ANY TRIP
THERE TRULY MEMORABLE.
MATTHEW AND NICKY NOLOT ARE WITH US TODAY.
WOULD YOU PLEASE STAND TO BE RECOGNIZED.
THANK YOU FOR MAKING THE TOLON AN IMPORTANT PART OF OUR
DOWNTOWN REVITALIZATION.
I’M ALSO IMPRESSED WITH THE WORK THAT JAMES KHAN IS DOING IN THE
DINING SCENE IN FORT WAYNE.
THE HOPPY GNOME, GNOMETOWN BREWING COMPANY, BAKERSTREET AND THE
SOON-TO-BE PROXIMO RESTAURANT ARE EXAMPLES OF HIS LOCAL SUCCESS
STORIES.
JAMES IS WITH US TODAY.
I’D LIKE FOR JAMES TO STAND, AND LET'S GIVE HIM A ROUND OF APPLAUSE.
JAMES, KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK.
NOT ONLY ARE OUR DOWNTOWN INVESTMENTS THRIVING, BUT OTHER
BUSINESSES ARE SUCCEEDING AS WELL.
IN 2017, WE WERE ABLE TO RETAIN MORE THAN THREE-THOUSAND JOBS AND
CREATE 18-HUNDRED NEW JOBS.
IT’S A TOTAL PRIVATE INVESTMENT OF NEARLY 250-MILLION DOLLARS.
COMPANIES LIKE FORT WAYNE METALS, SIRVA, WEB INDUSTRIES, AND PRAIRIE
FARMS ARE MAKING SIGNIFICANT INVESTMENTS.
IT’S NO SURPRISE THAT WE'VE BEEN NAMED A TOP CITY FOR FINDING A JOB.
I’M PARTICULARLY ENCOURAGED BY THE STRIDES WE’RE MAKING TO SUPPORT
SMALL BUSINESSES.
IT’S PEOPLE LIKE MIKE KELLY AND HIS TEAM AT CALIENTE ON WALLACE
STREET.
THEY GOT THEIR START IN 2001 AND MAKE CUSTOM HEATING PADS FOR THE
MILITARY, THE TELECOM INDUSTRY AND THE ELECTRIC VEHICLE MARKET.
IN FACT, THEY’RE THE NUMBER ONE MANUFACTURER OF MILITARY THERMAL
TARGETS IN THE U-S.
WE HAVE A FORT WAYNE COMPANY MAKING AN IMPACT WITH A WORLDWIDE
CUSTOMER BASE.
MIKE AND HIS TEAM ARE HERE TODAY.
WILL YOU PLEASE STAND SO WE CAN RECOGNIZE YOU.
THEY’RE ALSO A PREVIOUS INDIANA SMALL BUSINESS EXPORTER OF THE YEAR.
WHILE WE CELEBRATE BUSINESS ACCOMPLISHMENTS, THERE’S STILL WORK TO
BE DONE TO INCREASE WAGES IN OUR CITY AND REGION.
JOB TRAINING, SKILL DEVELOPMENT AND EDUCATION MUST BE ADDRESSED.
CONTINUED DIALOGUE WITH OUR SCHOOL SYSTEMS, POSTSECONDARY
EDUCATORS, SKILLED TRADES, AND VOCATIONAL TRAINING NEEDS TO BE A
PRIORITY.
SUPPORT FOR COMPREHENSIVE PRESCHOOL PROGRAMS, THE BOOKSTART
INITIATIVE AND EARLY CHILDHOOD ALLIANCE, AMONG OTHER PROJECTS MUST
ALSO BE PURSUED.
AND FINALLY, COMMUNITY SUPPORT FOR ORGANIZATIONS LIKE NORTHEAST
INDIANA WORKS, GREATER FORT WAYNE INC., THE NORTHEAST INDIANA
REGIONAL PARTNERSHIP, AND OTHERS IS IMPERATIVE TO OUR CONTINUED
ECONOMIC SUCCESS.
THE VITALITY OF OUR DOWNTOWN AND OUR CURRENT BUSINESS CLIMATE
ALSO HAVE DIRECT IMPACTS ON OUR NEIGHBORHOODS.
AND, I’M PROUD OF THE RECORD NUMBER OF IMPROVEMENTS WE’RE SEEING IN
AND AROUND OUR COMMUNITY.
SINCE 2014, 100-MILLION DOLLARS HAS BEEN INVESTED IN NEIGHBORHOOD
PUBLIC WORKS INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS.
AND, WE’RE GOING TO SEE ANOTHER 30-MILLION DOLLARS IN UPGRADES IN
2018.
THERE WILL BE PROJECTS IN EACH QUADRANT OF OUR CITY.
SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE NORTH ANTHONY BOULEVARD, STATE
BOULEVARD, DUPONT ROAD, GREATER MCMILLEN PARK, NORTH FRANKE PARK,
AND DEERFIELD ESTATES JUST TO NAME A FEW.
AND IN 2017, WE WERE ABLE TO ADJUST OUR LOCAL INCOME TAX AND PROVIDE
ADDITIONAL REVENUES TO IMPROVE SIDEWALKS AND ALLEYS AND HAVE
RESOURCES FOR FUTURE RIVERFRONT DEVELOPMENT.
IN FACT, IN 2018 ALONE, THERE WILL BE FOUR-MILLION DOLLARS SET ASIDE
FOR SIDEWALK IMPROVEMENTS AND TWO-MILLION DOLLARS ON WORK IN
ALLEYS.
I WANT TO THANK CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS JOHN CRAWFORD, GEOFF PADDOCK, GLYNN HINES, TOM DIDIER, TOM FREISTROFFER, AND MICHAEL
BARRANDA FOR BEING PART OF THE EFFORT TO HELP OUR NEIGHBORHOODS.
OTHER QUALITY OF LIFE AMENITIES ARE ALSO CRITICAL TO NEIGHBORHOOD
AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT.
JUST LOOK AT OUR TRAILS.
2017 SAW US PASS THE 100-MILE MARK OF TRAILS IN OUR COMMUNITY.
AND, SIX MORE MILES OF TRAILS ARE PLANNED TO BE CONSTRUCTED THIS
YEAR.
THE ATTENTION WE’RE PAYING TO NEIGHBORHOODS IS TELLING.
WE’VE BEEN NAMED THE BEST CITY IN THE COUNTRY TO RAISE A FAMILY.
AND, JUST LAST MONTH, BUSINESS INSIDER CALLED FORT WAYNE THE BEST
CITY IN INDIANA TO LIVE.
IT APPEARS WE’VE ALSO BEEN RECOGNIZED AS THE LOWEST COST OF LIVING
CITY IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY, AS WELL AS THE MOST AFFORDABLE BIG CITY
WHEN IT COMES TO COVERING THE COSTS OF HOMEOWNERSHIP.
I KNOW TWO EXAMPLES OF OUR QUALITY OF PLACE THAT ARE OCCURRING IN
SOUTHEAST FORT WAYNE.
ONE OF THEM IS POSTERITY SCHOLAR HOUSE.
THE ONCE BLIGHTED MCMILLEN APARTMENT COMPLEX IS BEING
TRANSFORMED INTO AN AFFORDABLE AND INNOVATIVE HOUSING CAMPUS
THAT WILL OPEN LATER THIS YEAR.
FUTURE PHASES WILL ADD EVEN MORE TO THIS NEW PROGRAM.
NEARBY, THE BOTTLE WORKS PROJECT IS REHABILITATING THE FORMER COCACOLA
SITE ON PONTIAC STREET INTO RENTAL UNITS THAT WILL BE FINISHED
THIS YEAR.
THIS INITIATIVE ALSO INCLUDES LEASE-TO-PURCHASE HOMES TO BE BUILT IN THE RENAISSANCE POINTE NEIGHBORHOOD.
OUR EFFORTS IN SOUTHEAST FORT WAYNE ARE ALSO ABOUT INVESTING IN
PEOPLE.
FOR EXAMPLE, THROUGH OUR PARTNERSHIP WITH VINCENT VILLAGE, WE’RE
PROVIDING RESIDENTS AND THEIR FAMILIES WITH GOOD HOMES, WHILE AT THE
SAME TIME WORKING TO BREAK THE CYCLE OF HOMELESSNESS.
QUALITY OF LIFE OFFERINGS ALSO EXTEND TO OUR AWARD-WINNING PARKS.
NEARLY 70 PROJECTS WERE COMPLETED IN 2017.
ONE OF THE MOST VISIBLE CHANGES LAST YEAR WAS UNDOUBTEDLY THE NEW
FRANKLIN SCHOOL PARK AND HEFNER PAVILION LOCATED ON SAINT MARY’S
AVENUE.
THIS UNIQUE PARK OFFERS SEVERAL AMENITIES INCLUDING A SPLASH PAD AND
WALKING AREA.
AND IN 2018, WE’VE DECIDED TO INVEST AN ADDITIONAL SIX-MILLION DOLLARS
IN NEW PROJECTS.
PROJECTS LIKE THE SALOMON FARM LEARNING CENTER, FOELLINGER THEATRE
UPGRADES, IMPROVEMENTS AT FREIMANN SQUARE, AND ENHANCEMENTS TO
OUR PLAYGROUNDS.
MY ADMINISTRATION IS ALSO PASSIONATE ABOUT PROVIDING ESSENTIAL
SERVICES TO THE PUBLIC.
OBVIOUSLY, BEING CONSIDERED ONE OF THE COUNTRY’S BEST-RUN CITIES IS
IMPORTANT.
BUT, WE EARN THIS ACCOLADE ONLY BY DOING THE BASICS VERY WELL.
FOR INSTANCE, WE DEPEND ON WATER, SEWER AND STORMWATER SYSTEMS TO
PERFORM EVERY MINUTE OF EVERY DAY.
AND UNQUESTIONABLY, CITY UTILITIES IS DOING A GREAT JOB MEETING THE
NEEDS OF RESIDENTS AND BUSINESSES.
IN FACT, IN 2017, WE INVESTED 75-MILLION DOLLARS IN NEIGHBORHOOD
UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE.
AND, IN 2018, AN ADDITIONAL 80-MILLION DOLLARS WILL BE INVESTED TO
IMPROVE OTHER UTILITY OFFERINGS IN OUR COMMUNITY.
AS PART OF THAT EFFORT, WE’VE ALSO BEGUN 40-MILLION DOLLARS WORTH OF
STORMWATER PROJECTS TO ALLEVIATE DRAINAGE CONCERNS.
AND, THE DEEP ROCK TUNNEL PROJECT IS WELL UNDERWAY.
BY 2022, IT WILL BE OPERATIONAL AND SERVE OUR COMMUNITY WELL FOR
GENERATIONS TO COME.
AND, IT WILL PROVIDE MORE THAN FOUR-THOUSAND CONSTRUCTION JOBS
OVER THE NEXT SEVERAL YEARS.
I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT YOUR SAFETY IS ALSO OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE
TO ME.
AND, ONE OF THE BIGGEST PUBLIC SAFETY AND HEALTH CHALLENGES I’M NOW
FACING IS THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC.
WE MUST HOLD ACCOUNTABLE THE COMPANIES RESPONSIBLE FOR BRINGING
EXCESS PHARMACEUTICALS INTO OUR COMMUNITY.
OUR CURRENT STRATEGY HAS NOW BEGUN WITH THE FILING OF A PUBLIC
NUISANCE LAWSUIT AGAINST OPIOID DISTRIBUTORS.
AND, IN ADDITION, OUR CITY, THE FORT WAYNE-ALLEN COUNTY DEPARTMENT
OF HEALTH AND PARTNER AGENCIES WILL CONTINUE EFFORTS TO FIGHT THIS
CRISIS THROUGH PROACTIVE REHABILITATION AND PREVENTION MEASURES.
WE KNOW THAT EDUCATION, TREATMENT AND LAW ENFORCEMENT ARE
CRITICAL COMPONENTS IN BATTLING THIS PROBLEM THAT’S IMPACTING SO
MANY INNOCENT LIVES IN SUCH A NEGATIVE WAY.
WE MUST REVERSE THIS TREND.
I ALSO RECOGNIZE THAT OTHER CRIMINAL ELEMENTS EXIST IN OUR CITY.
GUNS AND GANGS CONTINUE TO NEGATIVELY AFFECT RESIDENTS AND
FAMILIES.
HOWEVER, THROUGH THE EFFORTS OF THE FORT WAYNE POLICE DEPARTMENT,
WE’RE TRENDING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.
OVERALL CRIME IS DOWN FIVE PERCENT.
HOMICIDES DECREASED BY NEARLY 14 PERCENT IN 2017.
ROBBERIES AND BURGLARIES ALSO SAW SIGNIFICANT DROPS.
TO KEEP THIS MOMENTUM GOING, THOUGH, WE WILL BE ADDING 28 NEW
OFFICERS IN 2018.
IN FACT, THE RECRUIT CLASS ALREADY STARTED TRAINING LAST WEEK.
IF OUR COMMUNITY IS REALLY GOING TO RISE, IT’S GOING TO TAKE OPEN
COMMUNICATION, TRUST AND A WILLINGNESS TO HELP OTHERS TO
EXPERIENCE MEANINGFUL AND LASTING CHANGE.
AND, FORT WAYNE UNITED IS ONE OF THOSE CHANGE AGENTS.
THEY’RE ONE OF THE REASONS WHY OUR CITY IS ON THE RISE.
UNDER IRIC HEADLEY’S LEADERSHIP AND DOZENS OF COMMUNITY LEADERS
SERVING AS BOARD MEMBERS AND VOLUNTEERS, YOUNG LIVES ARE BEING
IMPACTED IN A POSITIVE WAY.
IN FACT, WE’VE NOW BECOME A NATIONAL MODEL FOR HOW TO TREAT BLACK
MEN AND BOYS WITH RESPECT AND DIGNITY AND GIVE HOPE AND
OPPORTUNITIES.
THERE IS NO QUESTION WE’RE A SAFER AND MORE COMPASSIONATE CITY
BECAUSE OF FORT WAYNE UNITED.
ANOTHER AREA OF PUBLIC SAFETY I’M ENCOURAGED ABOUT IS THE FORT
WAYNE FIRE DEPARTMENT.
I APPRECIATE THEIR COMMITMENT AND DEDICATION TO CUSTOMER SERVICE,
PUBLIC OUTREACH, EDUCATION, AND IMPLEMENTATION OF BEST PRACTICES.
AND, WE’RE GOING TO BE GROWING THAT DEPARTMENT AS WELL, AS 21 NEW
FIREFIGHTER RECRUITS BEGIN THEIR TRAINING NEXT MONTH.
WE’RE ALSO ENHANCING CARE BY HAVING SIX FIRE ENGINES WITH ADVANCED
E-M-T’S OR PARAMEDICS ON BOARD.
IN 2018, THE DEPARTMENT IS WORKING TOWARD HAVING EVERY FIRE ENGINE
MANNED WITH ADVANCED LIFE-SAVING PERSONNEL.
IN ADDITION, TWO NEW LADDER TRUCKS WILL BE IN OPERATION SOON.
AND, SIX FIRE STATIONS WILL BE CONVERTED TO L-E-D LIGHTING.
PUBLIC SAFETY ALSO INCLUDES CARING FOR ANIMALS.
WE’RE FORTUNATE TO HAVE A NATIONALLY-RECOGNIZED ANIMAL CARE AND
CONTROL DEPARTMENT.
THEIR EFFORTS IN EDUCATION, ADOPTIONS, RESCUES, AND COMMUNITY
PARTNERSHIPS ARE OUTSTANDING.
YOU KNOW, AS RESIDENTS OF FORT WAYNE, WE CERTAINLY HAVE A LOT TO BE
THANKFUL FOR.
ESPECIALLY IN HAVING A COMMUNITY FULL OF YOUNG PEOPLE WHO ARE
CHANGING OUR CITY FOR THE BETTER.
DOZENS OF THESE YOUNG ADULTS ARE PREPARING THEMSELVES FOR FUTURE
LEADERSHIP ROLES AND ARE VOLUNTEERING REGULARLY TO SIT ON BOARDS,
COMMISSIONS AND COMMITTEES.
IN FACT, MY MAYOR’S YOUTH ENGAGEMENT COUNCIL IS WITH US TODAY.
WOULD ALL OF YOU PLEASE STAND TO BE RECOGNIZED.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR WILLINGNESS TO PUT IN THE TIME AND EFFORT TO MAKE FORT WAYNE A LITTLE BIT BETTER PLACE FOR ALL OF US.
TO BE A CITY ON THE RISE REQUIRES US TO INVEST IN FUTURE GENERATIONS.
THESE FUTURE LEADERS DESERVE OUR TIME AND ATTENTION.
SO, BE SURE TO TAKE SOME OF YOUR TIME THIS YEAR TO INFLUENCE A YOUNG
PERSON’S LIFE, TOO.
SPEAKING OF OUR FUTURE, WHAT OTHER PROJECTS ARE NEXT IN OUR JOURNEY
TO BE THE BEST CITY IN THE COUNTRY.
WELL, FIRST, A REQUEST FOR QUALIFICATIONS HAS NOW BEEN ISSUED FOR THE
NORTH RIVER PROPERTY.
THIS 30-ACRE PLOT OF LAND JUST NORTH OF THE DOCTOR MARTIN LUTHER
KING BRIDGE CAN SERVE AS AN IDEAL LOCATION FOR A NUMBER OF
INVESTMENT POSSIBILITIES.
NOW UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE CITY, THIS AREA SERVES AS AN IMPORTANT
GATEWAY INTO OUR DOWNTOWN.
I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO WHAT OPPORTUNITIES WILL BE PRESENTED FOR
PRIVATE DEVELOPMENT.
SECOND, I’M OPTIMISTIC ABOUT ELECTRIC WORKS.
THE VISION FOR THIS MIXED-USE DISTRICT WITH OFFICE, RETAIL, RESIDENTIAL,
AND EDUCATIONAL USES HAS A LOT OF PROMISE.
AND I KNOW AN AGGRESSIVE MARKETING PLAN IS NOW IN PLACE TO SECURE A
NUMBER OF TENANTS FOR THIS EXCEPTIONAL VISION OF INDUSTRIAL SITE
REJUVENATION.
WE’RE LOOKING FORWARD TO WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS.
AND FINALLY, NOT FAR FROM ELECTRIC WORKS ON THE SOUTH SIDE OF TOWN
IS THE CLYDE THEATRE.
LATER THIS SUMMER, THIS MULTI-FUNCTIONAL PERFORMING ARTS AND SPECIAL EVENTS CENTER WILL OPEN.
IT WILL BE UNLIKE ANY OTHER IN THE REGION.
AND, THERE IS NO QUESTION THIS ENDEAVOR WILL HELP REVITALIZE THE
QUIMBY VILLAGE AREA.
WE NEED TO BE READY TO BRING THESE NEW PROJECTS AND INITIATIVES TO THE FORT.
NOW IS THE TIME TO SEIZE THE MOMENT.
OUR MOMENTUM HAS TO CONTINUE.
THIS WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY WON’T BE OPEN FOREVER.
I CAN TELL YOU WITH CONFIDENCE THAT THE STATE OF OUR CITY IS AS
STRONG AS IT’S EVER BEEN.
FORT WAYNE IS TRULY ON THE RISE.
SO, ALLOW ME TO BORROW, IF YOU WILL, FROM THE WEST POINT ACADEMY
CADET MAXIM.
AS WE LEAVE HERE TODAY, LET’S RISK MORE THAN OTHERS THINK IS SAFE.
CARE MORE THAN OTHERS THINK IS WISE.
DREAM MORE THAN OTHERS THINK IS PRACTICAL.
EXPECT MORE THAN OTHERS THINK IS POSSIBLE.
LET’S STAY ENERGIZED AND ENCOURAGED.
THE BEST IS YET TO COME.
GOD BLESS YOU AND GOD BLESS THE CITY OF FORT WAYNE.
THANK YOU.

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