A grassroots group looking to develop a vision for the future of the empty General Electric campus in Fort Wayne has announced a slate of public forums. The meetings are scheduled for next month and are supported by Greater Fort Wayne Inc.
"Save Our Fort Wayne General Electric Campus" says the forums were arranged by IPFW Political Science Professor and Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics Director Andy Downs. The group launched as a task force mid-last year and has since established two subcommittees.
City Councilman Geoff Paddock has been a driving force of the group. He told our partners at 21Alive WPTA-TV "there are many, many challenges, but it’s kind of like the big elephant that sits in the middle of the room, you can’t ignore it forever. At some point, something has to happen. There are ideas for museums and aquariums and all kinds of retail, so we want to explore that."
The company has had a presence in the city since the 1880s and at peak employment levels in the mid-20th Century, employed some 10,000 workers. It covers 32-acres and includes a dozen buildings. As of last year, the work force had dwindled to fewer than 90 before the company announced it would pull out and consolidate the remaining Fort Wayne operations with work done in Mexico.
The meeting dates are:
February 11 – 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. – Omni Room, Citizens Square
February 13 – 10 a.m.-noon – The Summit, 1025 Rudisill
February 18 – 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. – Omni Room, Citizens Square
In a message on Facebook, organizers said "we know we still have ‘miles to go’ before we can rest. This will be a long haul, and we have no guarantees from GE on anything. And, just to remind everyone – ‘Still beautiful after all these years!’"