The mayor of Fort Wayne says a proposed annexation plan would boost city revenue and economic development. The North IV annexation proposal would add nearly 23 square miles and 22,000 people to the city.
Mayor Tom Henry says it would allow the city to maintain its quality of life and continue to attract businesses. He says the plan will demonstrate the momentum the city has and will be very valuable in the long-term.
"It shows individuals that we are a growing community and that we want to continue to provide the type of growth possibilities that our city needs to exhibit to others to show them that we are a progressive community," said Henry. "We’re very excited about this. It’s going to increase the size of our city significantly from a land mass perspective and help us grow to a city of roughly 275,000."
Fort Wayne’s most recent annexation took place in 2006. Henry says more residents will benefit from the city’s streets, police and fire protection, parks and water and sewer utilities. However, he says annexation does not come without challenges.
"We have to be in a position to put together a public safety plan with the hiring of new police officers and firefighters," says Henry. "In this particular case, we’re going to have to build a new fire station (and) buy the apparatus necessary to cover that area. From a public works perspective, we’re going to have to purchase additional trucks in order to provide snow removal, leaf pickup; we’re going to have to expand our contract for trash removal and recycling."
Henry says his administration has been working on those issues behind the scenes "for some time" and is in a position to begin rolling those plans out. If approved by the Fort Wayne Common Council, the annexation would go into effect January 1, 2017, at which point city services would begin in the area.
The city has set up a website with more information regarding the plan. Before the plan is presented to the council, the city will be holding a series of open houses for residents to hear the plan and ask questions. The open houses currently scheduled include:
- Apr. 18 from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in the Omni Room on the garden level of Citizens Square, 200 E. Berry St.
- Apr. 19 from 7-9 a.m. at Life Bridge Church, 12719 Corbin Rd.
- Apr. 19 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Life Bridge Church, 12719 Corbin Rd.
- Apr. 27 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Mirro Center, 10622 Parkview Plaza Dr.
- Apr. 28 from 7-9 a.m. at the Mirro Center, 10622 Parkview Plaza Dr.
- Apr. 28 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Mirro Center, 10622 Parkview Plaza Dr.
The annexation plan will be introduced to the council in May. A public hearing will take place in July and Henry expects a vote to take place in August.
Henry says the city will do everything it can to make sure residents understand the plan.