Henry Touts Growth in State of the City

Posted: Updated:

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry says 2013 was a "banner year" for economic development. In his annual State of the City address, he touted the $71 million downtown development project anchored by Ash Brokerage as well as dozens of company expansions.

Mayor Tom Henry's 2014 State of the City address

THANK YOU, RON, FOR THAT WARM INTRODUCTION.

ELECTED OFFICIALS, HONORED GUESTS, CITIZENS OF FORT WAYNE, WELCOME.

IT'S AN HONOR TO BE WITH YOU.

TODAY, WE’RE AT THE GRAND WAYNE CENTER IN OUR VIBRANT AND EXCITING DOWNTOWN.

IT'S A TREMENDOUS FACILITY THAT SHOWS THE UNPRECEDENTED MOMENTUM WE'RE EXPERIENCING IN OUR CITY.

THROUGH THE EFFORTS OF THE GRAND WAYNE CENTER AND VISIT FORT WAYNE, WE’RE BECOMING A PLACE OF DESTINATION.

OUR STATE-OF-THE-ART CONVENTION CENTER HOSTED OVER 300 EVENTS LAST YEAR.

NEARLY SIX MILLION VISITORS CAME TO FORT WAYNE IN 2013.

438 MILLION DOLLARS WAS GENERATED, AND VISITOR SPENDING SUPPORTS 8,000 JOBS IN FORT WAYNE.

WE’RE A CITY ON THE MOVE.

TOGETHER, WE'RE INVESTING IN OUR FUTURE AND OUR CHILDREN’S FUTURE TO MAKE FORT WAYNE THE BEST THAT IT CAN BE.

THROUGH A COMMITMENT TO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, AND QUALITY OF LIFE, WE'VE BECOME THE ENVY OF THE STATE AND THE MIDWEST.

TO REMAIN A LEADER IN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, WE MUST INVEST IN ATTRACTING, RETAINING, AND GROWING JOBS AND BUSINESSES.

TO THAT END, 2013 WAS A BANNER YEAR WITH 29 COMPANIES EXPANDING AND 4 NEW BUSINESSES COMING TO FORT WAYNE.

EMPLOYERS INVESTED 160 MILLION DOLLARS, RETAINED 4,000 JOBS, AND CREATED NEARLY 900 NEW JOBS.

ASH BROKERAGE, BAE SYSTEMS, DANA, PRESS-SEAL GASKET, AND SHAMBAUGH AND SON ARE EXAMPLES OF COMPANIES THAT HAVE SENT A STRONG MESSAGE THAT FORT WAYNE IS A PLACE TO INVEST AND GROW.

IN 2013, GREATER FORT WAYNE, INC. WAS LAUNCHED, AND WE NOW HAVE A UNIFIED VISION WITH STRONGER ALIGNMENT IN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND A MORE COMPETITIVE POSITION ON A GLOBAL STAGE.

I’M ENCOURAGED BY THE STRONG GAINS WE’RE SEEING IN OUR ECONOMY, AND I CONTINUE TO BE A STRONG ADVOCATE FOR OUR DOWNTOWN AND THE INVESTMENT THAT WE’RE EXPERIENCING.

IT’S TRULY REMARKABLE WHAT WE'RE WITNESSING.

WE’RE A DOWNTOWN WHERE PEOPLE ARE LIVING, WORKING, AND PLAYING.

FOR INSTANCE, THE APARTMENTS AT THE HARRISON ARE COMPLETELY FILLED.

THE ANTHONY WAYNE BUILDING CONDOMINIUMS ARE NEARLY FULL.

WORK IS UNDERWAY ON THE RANDALL LOFTS, PLANS ARE COMING TOGETHER FOR SUPERIOR LOFTS, AND WE’RE EXPLORING HOUSING NEAR THE AWARD-WINNING PARKVIEW FIELD.

IT DOESN'T STOP THERE.

THIS SPRING, CONSTRUCTION WILL BEGIN ON THE DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT FEATURING THE NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS FOR ASH BROKERAGE.

IT ALSO INCLUDES A RESIDENTIAL COMPONENT LED BY HANNING AND BEAN ENTERPRISES THAT WILL BRING MORE HOUSING OPTIONS TO DOWNTOWN.

RETAIL SPACE AND A CITY-OWNED PARKING GARAGE WILL COMPLETE THE DEVELOPMENT.

IT’S A FULL SQUARE BLOCK THAT WILL TRANSFORM OUR SKYLINE.

TIM ASH AND BILL BEAN ARE WITH US TODAY.

TIM AND BILL, WILL YOU PLEASE STAND.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR COMMITMENT AND BELIEF IN FORT WAYNE.

EVEN AS OUR CITY INVESTS IN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND A VIBRANT DOWNTOWN, WE MUST BE FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE.

MY ADMINISTRATION HAS PRESENTED BALANCED BUDGETS EACH YEAR I’VE SERVED AS YOUR MAYOR, AND WE HAVE A HEALTHY SAVINGS ACCOUNT.

BUT, IT HASN’T BEEN EASY, THOUGH.

PROPERTY TAX CAPS FORCED US TO FIND OTHER FUNDING SOURCES TO MEET OUR ESSENTIAL NEEDS AND DELIVER THE SERVICES YOU EXPECT.

IT TOOK STRONG LEADERSHIP TO MAKE MEANINGFUL CHANGES.

SO, IN 2013, WE DID WHAT GREAT CITIES DO WHEN DIFFICULTIES ARISE; WE CAME TOGETHER.

STATE AND LOCAL EXPERTS, ELECTED OFFICIALS, BUSINESS LEADERS, AND NEIGHBORHOOD ADVOCATES ALL CONTRIBUTED TO CREATING

A FINANCIAL PLAN THAT PROVIDES STABILITY NOW AND IN THE YEARS AHEAD.

WE’RE THE ONLY CITY IN INDIANA TO HAVE A TRUE FISCAL POLICY PLAN.

FORT WAYNE CITY COUNCIL STEPPED UP AND PROVIDED LEADERSHIP WHEN IT WAS NEEDED MOST.

TOM DIDIER SERVED AS COUNCIL PRESIDENT IN 2013.

I'D LIKE TO HAVE THE COUNCIL MEMBERS HERE TO PLEASE STAND.

THANK YOU FOR WORKING WITH MY ADMINISTRATION TO MAKE A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE FOR OUR CITY.

LET’S COMMIT TO CONTINUE TO WORK TOGETHER TO MOVE FORT WAYNE FORWARD.

IN DEVELOPING OUR FISCAL POLICY, WE LISTENED TO YOU.

YOU TOLD US YOU WOULD BE WILLING TO PAY A LITTLE MORE TO ENHANCE PUBLIC SAFETY, IMPROVE STREETS AND ROADS, AND MAINTAIN OUR PARKS.

IN PUBLIC SAFETY, WE’RE ADDING 22 MORE POLICE OFFICERS TO MAKE OUR STREETS AS SAFE AS POSSIBLE.

AND NEXT YEAR, WITH HELP FROM A FEDERAL GRANT, WE’LL ADD 10 MORE OFFICERS TO THE FORCE.

I RECOGNIZE THERE ARE CHALLENGES IN OUR CITY.

2013 WAS A DIFFICULT YEAR FOR VIOLENCE IN OUR COMMUNITY.

NOW MORE THAN EVER, WE’RE FOCUSED ON REVERSING THAT TREND.

BY WORKING TOGETHER, WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

PUBLIC SAFETY IS CRITICAL TO ANY THRIVING COMMUNITY.

WE MUST BE A CITY WHERE RESIDENTS AND BUSINESSES FEEL SAFE.

IT STARTS WITH MY RECENT REINSTATEMENT OF THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC SAFETY POSITION.

RUSTY YORK HAS ASSUMED THAT ROLE AND WILL DO A GREAT JOB.

RUSTY OVERSEES THE POLICE AND FIRE DEPARTMENTS AND LEADS OUR STRATEGIC PUBLIC SAFETY EFFORTS.

I ALSO APPOINTED A NEW POLICE CHIEF, GARRY HAMILTON.

GARRY’S COMMITTED TO OPEN COMMUNICATION WITH RESIDENTS, UTILIZING NEW TECHNOLOGIES, AND CONTINUING TO COLLABORATE WITH FELLOW LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES.

GARRY IS WITH US TODAY.

GARRY, PLEASE STAND TO BE RECOGNIZED.

UNDER CHIEF HAMILTON’S DIRECTION, I’M HONORED TO ANNOUNCE THAT LATER THIS MONTH, A NEW GANG AND VIOLENT CRIME UNIT WILL BEGIN OPERATIONS.

THE UNIT WILL WORK TO REDUCE CRIMINAL GANG ACTIVITY, INVESTIGATE CRIMES, AND GATHER INTELLIGENCE ON KNOWN AND SUSPECTED GANG MEMBERS.

OUR COMMITMENT TO YOUR SAFETY EXTENDS TO OUR FIRE DEPARTMENT.

THIS YEAR, WE WILL ADD 24 FIREFIGHTERS TO SERVE AND PROTECT OUR CITY.

LAST YEAR ALONE, OUR FIRE CREWS RESPONDED TO 18,000 CALLS FOR SERVICE.

WE CAN ALL BE PROUD OF THE HARD WORK AND DETERMINATION THAT WE SEE EACH DAY FROM OUR FIREFIGHTERS.

AND, 2014 MARKS THE 175TH ANNIVERSARY FOR THE FORT WAYNE FIRE DEPARTMENT.

WE HAVE A RICH HISTORY OF FIRE SERVICE THAT CONTINUES TODAY AND INTO THE FUTURE.

YOU ALSO ASKED US TO CONCENTRATE ON OUR STREETS, ROADS, AND SIDEWALKS.

SO, LIKE NEVER BEFORE, YOU’RE GOING TO SEE ORANGE CONES EVERYWHERE.

I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE THINKING, BUT THESE CONES ARE A GOOD SIGN FOR FORT WAYNE.

WE’RE INVESTING MORE THAN 20 MILLION DOLLARS IN OUR NEIGHBORHOODS.

THERE WILL BE AT LEAST 50 MILES OF PAVING AND 10 MILES OF CONCRETE RECONSTRUCTION.

WE’LL BE CREATING OVER 300 CONSTRUCTION JOBS THAT WILL BOOST FORT WAYNE’S ECONOMY.

A STRONG COMMITMENT TO INFRASTRUCTURE MEANS OUR CITY WILL BE MORE ATTRACTIVE TO ALL OF YOU AND TO BUSINESSES LOOKING TO RELOCATE HERE OR EXPAND.

THANKS TO YOU, OUR FISCAL PLAN ALSO MEANS THAT OUR PARKS DEPARTMENT WILL HAVE AN ADDITIONAL 3 MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR FOR NEEDED MAINTENANCE.

PLANNED IMPROVEMENTS FOR THIS YEAR INCLUDE A SPLASH PAD AT HAMILTON PARK, AN ADDITIONAL RESTROOM AT SHOAFF PARK, AND IMPROVEMENTS TO THE DIEHM MUSEUM PAVILION.

THERE WILL ALSO BE REPAIRS TO ROADWAYS, PARKING LOTS, TENNIS COURTS, AND BASKETBALL COURTS THROUGHOUT THE CITY.

OUR REGULAR TREE REPLACEMENT AND TREATMENT PROGRAM WILL CONTINUE.

AND, WE’LL COMPLETE THE REMOVAL OF THE LAST OF THE DEAD ASH TREES, ALL 14,000 OF THEM.

BEING A PROGRESSIVE CITY ALSO INCLUDES HAVING EXCELLENT WATER AND SEWER SERVICES.

IN 2013, CITY UTILITIES WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR 50 MILLION DOLLARS IN PROJECTS THAT SUPPORTED 1,200 JOBS.

AND PROGRESS CONTINUES ON A FINAL AGREEMENT TO PURCHASE AQUA INDIANA’S WATER UTILITY IN SOUTHWEST FORT WAYNE.

THIS REMAINS A TOP PRIORITY OF MY ADMINISTRATION.

A LETTER OF INTENT HAS BEEN SIGNED, AND WE’RE WORKING TO MOVE THE PROCESS FORWARD.

THIS IS A WIN FOR OUR COMMUNITY AS WE PROVID