April 28, 2017 -  City Councilman Dr. John Crawford today discussed his proposal to invest in riverfront development and neighborhood sidewalks and alleys.

Councilman Crawford was joined by fellow Council members Tom Didier, Tom Freistroffer, Glynn Hines, Mayor Tom Henry, members of the Mayor’s Administration and officials from Fort Wayne Community Schools at today’s news conference.

Riverfront development highlights:
Riverbank stabilization - $4 million
Riverfront phase II - $25 million
Riverfront phase III - $50 million
Expand development west of phase I
Expand the public amenities
Increase flood capacity of public space
Create private development sites near the river

Neighborhood sidewalks and alleys highlights:
Investment of $40 million over the next 10-15 years
Build 40 miles of new sidewalks for connectivity from neighborhoods to schools
Repairs on existing sidewalks – up to 200 additional projects with property owners
Invest in and increase life span of alleys – historically a low priority

An adjustment in the local income tax could generate the necessary money, $9.6 million per year for the City of Fort Wayne, to invest in the riverfront and neighborhood sidewalks and alleys. These revenues would help advance phases two and three of riverfront development, add new sidewalks throughout Fort Wayne and address areas of Fort Wayne Community Schools and East Allen County Schools that lack sidewalks for children. The plan would also allow for expanding the maintenance program for existing sidewalks and repairs to alleys throughout the City.

The average household with an income of $49,000 would see an increase of $6 per month or $73 per year if the local income tax is adjusted by .15 percent. Fort Wayne/Allen County has and would continue to have the lowest income tax rate of almost all surrounding counties. Individuals on fixed incomes would not have their Social Security income taxed under this proposal.

“Enthusiasm to proceed with the full scope of riverfront development is high among the great majority of citizens. Having a vibrant and thriving riverfront destination is will allow the City of Fort Wayne to attract and retain high-paying jobs and top talent which will ensure that our economy continues to grow far into the future, “ stated Dr. John Crawford. “Having a strong neighborhood core for citizens to reside is imperative to the health of Fort Wayne. Improving our infrastructure in making sure that there are sidewalks for every child to walk to school on and that our neighborhoods are connected is paramount to the overall health of the community. I am thankful for the strong leadership of these members of the Fort Wayne City Council who are standing with me today and Mayor Henry, who are all committed to moving our city forward.”

“The City of Fort Wayne is experiencing momentum and investments like never before. Our downtown is thriving, neighborhoods are growing and we’re seeing a positive business climate with job growth and expansion projects,” said Mayor Henry. “In order to continue to see successes, though, we can’t stop now. We must remain committed to moving forward in the right direction to make Fort Wayne and northeast Indiana a point of destination. I applaud Councilman Crawford for his leadership on this issue. Through strong fiscal management and bipartisan efforts, this proposal is a collective effort and an example of our commitment to providing opportunities and making a meaningful difference.”

High-wage jobs, new businesses, the retention of current businesses, population growth and attracting young professionals make it vital to continue to invest in Fort Wayne and provide quality of life amenities that make our community and region attractive. One of the ways to see continued momentum is by supporting community initiatives that make Fort Wayne viable and sustainable now and in the future.

The proposal is scheduled to be introduced to City Council in June with a final vote anticipated in July. The process will include public hearings as part of City Council’s discussion to invest in the riverfront and neighborhood infrastructure. Public meetings will also be conducted to provide residents, neighborhoods and businesses an opportunity to learn more about the proposal. A complete schedule will be released in the coming weeks.