Henry Pushes Forward With Growth Plans

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Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry used his annual State of the City Address today to push for continued growth. He issued a challenge to the Downtown Development Trust to acquire more land for future projects and said he will convene an "Education-Employer Forum" later this year. February 11, 2015

Transcript of Mayor Tom Henry's State of The City Address

THANK YOU, NANCY, FOR THAT WARM INTRODUCTION.

FRIENDS, ELECTED OFFICIALS, HONORED GUESTS, RESIDENTS OF FORT WAYNE, WELCOME.

I’M HONORED TO BE WITH YOU TODAY TO TALK ABOUT MY VISION TO BUILD ON THE MOMENTUM WE’RE EXPERIENCING IN THE CITY OF FORT WAYNE.

I WANT TO THANK THE GRAND WAYNE CENTER FOR HOSTING TODAY’S EVENT. IT WAS 10 YEARS AGO THAT THE RENOVATION AND EXPANSION WAS FINISHED ON THIS TREMENDOUS ASSET FOR DOWNTOWN.

THIS WORLD-CLASS FACILITY, WHICH IS ALSO CELEBRATING ITS 30TH ANNIVERSARY, IS ONE REASON WE’RE A CITY MOVING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.

THROUGH THE EFFORTS OF THE GRAND WAYNE CENTER AND VISIT FORT WAYNE, WE’VE BECOME A HOT SPOT FOR TOURISM WITH A CENTRAL LOCATION, GREAT FACILITIES, AND HOOSIER HOSPITALITY.

IN FACT, FIFTEEN NEW MEETINGS AND CONVENTIONS ARE COMING TO OUR CITY THIS YEAR.

AND, NEARLY 9,000 LOCAL JOBS ARE DIRECTLY SUPPORTED BY VISITOR SPENDING.

I’VE LIVED IN FORT WAYNE ALMOST ALL OF MY LIFE.

AND, THERE’S AN EXCITEMENT IN OUR CITY THAT I’VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE, AND I SUSPECT YOU'VE SEEN IT, TOO.

PEOPLE AND BUSINESSES AROUND OUR STATE AND NATION ARE TAKING NOTICE OF FORT WAYNE.

YOU MAY HAVE SEEN THAT FORBES MAGAZINE NAMED US ONE OF AMERICA'S TOP 19 OPPORTUNITY CITIES.

AND, WE’VE BEEN RECOGNIZED AS ONE OF THE BEST CITIES FOR PEOPLE UNDER 35.

THIS POSITIVE ATTENTION WE’RE RECEIVING IS THE RESULT OF ALL OF THE HARD WORK WE'VE DONE TO POSITION US AS A DESTINATION PLACE AND A GEM OF THE MIDWEST.

WE'RE MAKING A NAME FOR OURSELVES AS A CITY THAT OTHERS LOOK TO EMULATE.

AS I MEET WITH MAYORS FROM ACROSS INDIANA AND OUR GREAT COUNTRY, I’M OFTEN ASKED, HOW ARE YOU HAVING SO MUCH SUCCESS IN FORT WAYNE?

WELL, WE HAVE A GREAT STORY TO TELL, AND EVERY CHANCE I GET, I DO JUST THAT.

WE MUST CONTINUE TO BUILD ON OUR MOMENTUM.

I'M ESPECIALLY ENCOURAGED BY THE PROGRESS WE'RE MAKING TO BECOME AN ECONOMIC LEADER IN THE MIDWEST.

FOR INSTANCE, WE'RE WORKING TOGETHER NOW MORE THAN EVER TO STRENGTHEN OUR LOCAL ECONOMY.

IN 2014, WE SAW 166 MILLION DOLLARS IN PRIVATE INVESTMENT.

MORE THAN 1,100 JOBS WERE CREATED.

WE RETAINED MORE THAN 2,600 JOBS.

17 COMPANIES EXPANDED, AND WE WELCOMED FOUR NEW BUSINESSES TO FORT WAYNE.

DANA, DEISTER MACHINE, FORT WAYNE METALS, LUTHERAN SHARED SERVICES, SWEETWATER SOUND, AND VALBRUNA STEEL ARE EXAMPLES OF JUST SOME OF THE COMPANIES WHO ARE ENHANCING THE BUSINESS CLIMATE IN FORT WAYNE.

AS A MATTER OF FACT, FORT WAYNE IS NOW RANKED AS THE 16TH BEST PLACE IN THE COUNTRY TO SEEK EMPLOYMENT.

THE HEART OF OUR CITY IS SEEING UNPRECEDENTED GROWTH AND PRIVATE INVESTMENT.

POSITIVE PROGRESS CONTINUES TO BE MADE ON THE 100 MILLION DOLLAR SKYLINE PROJECT.

THERE IS NO QUESTION THAT TIM ASH'S COMMITMENT TO BUILD HIS NATIONAL CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS AS PART OF THE PROJECT WITH HUNDREDS OF JOBS IS A TESTAMENT TO HIS BELIEF IN FORT WAYNE.

AND, THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE SKYLINE GARAGE IS WELL UNDERWAY.

ADDITIONALLY, THREE HIGHLY QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED DEVELOPERS ARE FINALISTS TO DEVELOP THE SKYLINE RESIDENTIAL TOWER TO COMPLEMENT THE ASH BROKERAGE BUILDING.

I WILL HAVE AN ANNOUNCEMENT IN THE NEXT FEW WEEKS THAT IS WORTHY OF OUR CITY AND REFLECTS THE PROGRESS THAT WE’VE MADE.

THE HIGH DEMAND FOR DOWNTOWN HOUSING CONTINUES IN OUR CITY.

THE APARTMENTS AT THE HARRISON, AND THE RANDALL LOFTS ARE COMPLETELY FULL, AND THE ANTHONY WAYNE CONDOMINIUMS ARE ALMOST THERE.

AND, CONSTRUCTION ON THE SUPERIOR LOFTS WILL BEGIN THIS YEAR.

THIS SPRING, WORK WILL BEGIN ON CITYSCAPE FLATS.

THE 27 MILLION DOLLAR INVESTMENT ACROSS FROM PARKVIEW FIELD WILL FEATURE 167 APARTMENTS, EIGHT ROW HOUSES, AND A PARKING GARAGE.

OUR PARTNERS FROM DOMO DEVELOPMENT ARE HERE TODAY.

SCOTT SORENSEN, WOULD YOU PLEASE STAND TO BE RECOGNIZED.

THANK YOU FOR CHOOSING FORT WAYNE.

AND THERE’S MORE.

IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS, WE'LL BEGIN THE PROCESS TO SELECT A PARTNER TO REDEVELOP THE LANDING.

THIS MIXED-USE DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE WITH RETAIL, ENTERTAINMENT, AND HOUSING WILL PROVIDE ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY TO LIVE, WORK, AND PLAY IN OUR DOWNTOWN.

I WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION OF GREATER FORT WAYNE FOR PARTNERING WITH THE DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT TRUST. THIS HAS LED TO THE PURCHASE OF PROPERTIES THAT WILL MAKE THIS PROJECT A REALITY.

OUR DOWNTOWN MAY BE THE HEART OF THE CITY, BUT WE KNOW THAT NEIGHBORHOODS ARE THE BACKBONE OF FORT WAYNE, AND I CAN'T THANK OUR NEIGHBORHOOD LEADERS ENOUGH FOR THE PASSION AND DEDICATION THEY SHOW EACH DAY.

A NUMBER OF THEM ARE WITH US TODAY.

CAROLYN DEVOE, THE SOUTHWEST AREA PARTNERSHIP CHAIR;

TONY RIDLEY WITH RENAISSANCE POINTE;

DENNY ZIMMERMAN WITH NORTHWEST LIMA WOODS;

AND DAVID KOHLI WITH MAPLEWOOD TERRACE AND DOWNS. WOULD YOU PLEASE STAND TO BE RECOGNIZED.

THE WORK THEY DO IN THE NEIGHBORHOODS AND AREA PARTNERSHIPS KEEPS OUR NEIGHBORHOODS STRONG AND VIBRANT.

I ENCOURAGE ALL OF YOU TO GET INVOLVED IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION ACTIVITIES.

WE’RE A STRONGER AND BETTER COMMUNITY WHEN WE COME TOGETHER TO SOLVE PROBLEMS, CELEBRATE SUCCESSES, AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

CERTAINLY, AS A COMMUNITY WE’VE ESTABLISHED THAT REINVESTING IN OUR NEIGHBORHOODS HAS TO REMAIN A TOP PRIORITY.

JUST LAST WEEK, FORT WAYNE WAS NAMED A TOP 10 MOST AFFORDABLE PLACE TO LIVE.

AND, WE’VE RECEIVED NEARLY EIGHT MILLION DOLLARS TO REDUCE BLIGHT IN OUR NEIGHBORHOODS.

WE’RE RESTORING PRIDE AND INCREASING PROPERTY VALUES.

WE'RE WORKING COLLECTIVELY TO BUILD ON THE MOMENTUM WE’RE SEEING IN NEIGHBORHOODS THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE CITY.

THAT'S WHY LAST YEAR WE SAW RECORD INVESTMENTS OF OVER 20 MILLION DOLLARS IN MORE THAN 140 NEIGHBORHOODS FOR STREETS, ROADS, AND SIDEWALKS.

AND, WE'RE GOING TO INVEST ANOTHER 20 MILLION DOLLARS THIS YEAR.

WE MUST CONTINUE TO MAKE THESE NEEDED IMPROVEMENTS TO HELP OUR NEIGHBORHOODS SUCCEED.

UNQUESTIONABLY, THIS ADMINISTRATION’S COMMITMENT TO ALL INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDS MAKES A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE.

OUR EFFORTS TO ENHANCE TRAFFIC PATTERNS THROUGHOUT OUR CITY UNDOUBTEDLY INCREASES ECONOMIC AND QUALITY OF LIFE OPPORTUNITIES.

THAT'S WHY WE’VE CONSTRUCTED A NEW ROUNDABOUT AT FAIRFIELD, SUPERIOR, WELLS, AND EWING.

I CAN SHARE WITH YOU TODAY THAT IT WILL NOW BE KNOWN AS SUPERIOR CIRCLE AND WILL BE FORMALLY DEDICATED THIS SPRING.

WE CAN ALSO LOOK FORWARD TO ADDITIONAL STREETSCAPE IMPROVEMENTS IN THIS AREA, AS WELL AS A MODERN SCULPTURE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROUNDABOUT. AND, ALTHOUGH MY MOTHER REQUESTED IT, NO, IT WON'T BE A SCULPTURE OF ME.

MY TEAM STRIVES EVERY DAY TO MEET YOUR NEEDS.

THEY CONTINUE TO KEEP STREETS PLOWED AND SALTED FOR YOUR SAFETY AND ARE FILLING POTHOLES IN RECORD TIMES.

THEY’RE INCREASING EFFICIENCIES IN GARBAGE AND RECYCLING COLLECTION AND MAKING LEAF PICKUP MORE CONVENIENT FOR YOU.

IT’S ALL ABOUT PERFECTING THE BASIC SERVICES THAT MAKE US SUCCESSFUL.

TO BE A GREAT CITY, IT'S CRITICAL THAT IN FORT WAYNE WE WORK EACH DAY TO BE THE SAFEST CITY POSSIBLE.

AND, WE'RE DOING JUST THAT BY THE TEAMWORK AND DEDICATION THAT’S BEING DISPLAYED BY THE FORT WAYNE POLICE DEPARTMENT.

INDEED, THEIR EMPHASIS ON TRUST AND COMMUNICATION RESULTED IN A SUCCESSFUL 2014.

THERE WAS A 63 PERCENT DROP IN HOMICIDES. BURGLARIES WERE DOWN 26 PERCENT. ROBBERIES DECLINED BY 22 PERCENT. AND, OVERALL CRIME WAS DOWN NEARLY 15 PERCENT.

THE WORK OF THE NEW GANG AND VIOLENT CRIMES UNIT IS A KEY FACTOR IN OUR COLLECTIVE SUCCESS.

SEVERAL OF THE MEMBERS OF THE UNIT ARE WITH US TODAY. WOULD YOU PLEASE STAND AS WE THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE AND FOR BEING OUR GUARDIANS.

UNDER THE LEADE