February 10, 2021 - Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry today delivered his 14th State of the City address. The theme for this year’s address was “Fort Wayne – It’s Our Time.” 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 2021:
Mayor Henry’s top priority is 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.
Job growth/retention and private investment:
In Fort Wayne in 2020, there were 760 new jobs created, 832 jobs retained, and a total private investment of $105 million.
Continued downtown revitalization:
A memorandum of understanding is now in place for a major development on the North River site. The proposed project calls for a professional soccer stadium, fieldhouse, event center, and hotel. In addition, there would be restaurants, residential, retail, office, and public spaces, as well as parking.
The Riverfront at Promenade Park project will break ground next week and include apartments, a parking garage and office and retail space. It’s an investment of $88 million next to Promenade Park.
The Lofts at Headwaters Park development will feature apartments, a parking garage and office and retail space. It’s a $67 million project next to Club Soda in the area of Clinton and Superior streets. Work is scheduled to begin later this year.
The Bradley, a 124-room boutique hotel at Main and Harrison streets, is scheduled to open in April.
The Landing, a $35 million redevelopment project, is open with housing and commercial and retail spaces.
Additional riverfront development public spaces efforts will continue. Design details, construction documents, and bidding for the next phase of work will be completed this year with construction slated for 2022.
Work has started on the Ashberry development that will also serve as the corporate headquarters for STAR Financial Bank. It’s a $43 million, seven-story mixed-use project along Main Street that will feature commercial and retail space and public parking.
Overall crime was down 13 percent in 2020. The Fort Wayne Police Department will have a lateral class in 2021 to help meet staffing level goals of 480 officers. In addition, at least 100 body cameras will be added to the department.
The Fort Wayne Fire Department will have a recruit class in 2021. The department will also add two new engines and continue to manage the effects of COVID-19 to meet the emergency needs of the public.
There will be $3 million in improvements in parks, including various planning and construction work at Franke, Foster, Kreager, Lafayette, Lakeside, Northside, Weisser, and Shoaff parks, just to name a few.
The City plans to invest nearly $28 million in neighborhood infrastructure enhancements in 2021. Work will include improvements to streets, roads, sidewalks, alleys, curbs, bridges, street lights, and trails. Since 2014, nearly $200 million of work has occurred in neighborhoods throughout Fort Wayne.
More than $100 million will be invested in neighborhood water, sewer and stormwater improvements. The Hessen Cassel, Blackhawk, and Fairmont neighborhoods are some of the highlighted areas where work will take place in 2021.
In the past year, Fort Wayne has been named the 5th lowest cost of living city by Niche; the 8th best-run city by WalletHub; the 11th most livable city by SmartAsset; a top 10 most affordable city for early retirement by SmartAsset; and a top 50 city for combined job opportunities, cost of living, and income for recent college graduates by interest.com. In addition, Fort Wayne was named Indiana’s community of the year for 2020 by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.
“It’s our time in Fort Wayne to make a lasting difference. COVID-19 has presented our community with unprecedented challenges and loss. By working together, we will overcome obstacles and be a recognized leader in providing the very best services to residents, neighborhoods, and businesses,” said Mayor Henry. “I’m hopeful that the public is as optimistic about the future as I am. With all of the angst and uncertainty that is before us, the state of our city remains strong. Fort Wayne is positioned for growth and success.”
Full Speech Transcript