February 16, 2022 - Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry today delivered his 15th State of the City address. The theme for this year’s address was “Fort Wayne – The Best is Yet to Come.” The event was held at the Grand Wayne Center.
Due to COVID-19 safety protocols, the Mayor delivered his speech without an audience in attendance.
Highlights from Mayor Henry’s State of the City address:
Goals and objectives for 2022:
Mayor Henry’s top priority is to continue to ensure the needs of the residents and businesses of Fort Wayne are being met through the COVID-19 pandemic. The City Administration will also focus on economic development opportunities, neighborhood infrastructure improvements, public safety, and parks. Mayor Henry also addressed the importance of providing the best solid waste collection services possible.
Job growth/retention and private investment:
In Fort Wayne in 2021, there were 1,700 new jobs created, 1,500 jobs retained, and a total private investment of $463 million.
Continued downtown revitalization:
The nearly $90 million Riverfront at Promenade Park project will open its parking garage component in the first quarter of this year with the apartments/townhomes and commercial space anticipated to completed at the end of this year.
Additional riverfront development public spaces efforts in the Promenade Park and surrounding areas will continue this year.
The nearly $68 million Lofts at Headwaters Park that will feature apartments/townhomes, a parking garage, and office/retail space has begun soil removal and site work. It’s next to Club Soda near Clinton and Superior streets. The parking garage is scheduled to open in 2023 and the other portions in 2024.
The Landing, a $35 million redevelopment project, is open with housing and commercial and retail spaces. Another project on The Landing with similar themes is scheduled to begin construction later this year with an investment of nearly $12 million.
The Ashberry development, corporate headquarters for STAR Financial Bank, will open in 2023. The $43 million, seven-story mixed-use project along Main Street will also feature commercial and retail space and public parking.
The Bradley, a boutique hotel at Main and Harrison streets, opened last year. The new Lutheran Downtown Hospital also opened in 2021.
The Pearl, another mixed-use development in downtown, was announced earlier this week. The plans for the nearly $50 million investment include commercial and event space as well as housing.
Overall crime was down six percent and violent crime decreased by nearly 37 percent in 2021. The Fort Wayne Police Department will have a recruit class in 2022 to bring staffing levels up to 485 officers. In addition, all FWPD uniform operations will be equipped with body cameras.
The Fort Wayne Fire Department will have a recruit class in 2022. The department will also add two new engines and grant funding will assist with new radios, rescue tools, and continued training. In addition, the FWFD will break ground on a new Fire Station 14.
There will be $3 million in improvements in parks, including various planning and construction work at Franke, Foster, Lakeside, Kreager, McMillen, Salomon Farm, and Weisser parks, just to name a few.
The City plans to invest a record $38.5 million in neighborhood infrastructure enhancements in 2022. Work will include improvements to streets, roads, sidewalks, alleys, curbs, bridges, street lights, and trails. Since 2014, more than $200 million of work has occurred in neighborhoods throughout Fort Wayne.
Plans call for $110 million to be invested in neighborhood water, sewer and stormwater improvements. Centerhurst, Tamarack, Crestwood Colony, Lincolndale, and Blackhawk neighborhoods are some of the highlighted areas where work will take place in 2022.
National and local recognition:
In the past year, Fort Wayne has been named an All-America City by the National Civic League; the 3rd best-run city by WalletHub; the 2nd most affordable place to live by U.S. News & World Report; and the 7th top emerging housing market by The Wall Street Journal and Realtor.com. Mayor Henry today also highlighted the efforts of the new social workers with the FWPD, as well as special programming achievements by Catholic Charities and the United Front team through the Fort Wayne UNITED initiative.
“I truly believe the best is yet to come for Fort Wayne. We’re revitalizing downtown, our neighborhoods are strong and vibrant, and the local business climate is second to none,” said Mayor Henry. “Fort Wayne is on top, but we can’t slow down. I’m looking forward to what the future will bring to our City. It’s a great time to be part of what we’re building in Fort Wayne.”
Power Point Presentation