February 24, 2014 – The public is invited to share their vision for Fort Wayne’s downtown riverfront at two public input meetings.
Both meetings will take place at the main branch of the Allen County Public Library in the auditorium. The meetings are set for:
*Wednesday, March 12 from 5:30-7:30 p.m., with a presentation at 5:45 p.m.
*Thursday, March 13 from 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., with a presentation at 11:15 a.m.
“Public input is critical to the success of our riverfront study,” said Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry. “This is everyone’s riverfront and the final designs need to reflect the hopes and dreams of our entire community.”
In November 2013, the City contracted with SWA Group to conduct the Riverfront Study, which is the first comprehensive look at enhancing the use of our City’s rivers; it is intended to provide the road map to a world class investment. During the public input meetings, SWA will provide an overview of the data collected and preliminary development concepts. The consulting team will then listen to citizens’ vision for the downtown riverfront; the team will use this input to create designs and implementation strategies.
SWA Group, an urban planning, design and landscape architecture firm working worldwide from seven locations, is the lead consultant on the study. They have extensive expertise in riverfront development in the U.S. and around the world. SWA’s team includes Fort Wayne-based MKM Architecture + Design; Market Feasibility Advisors; Biohabitats; Moffatt & Nichol; Empower Results; and AMEC.
January 10, 2014 – Mayor Tom Henry today proposed investing $3 million in Legacy funds in the University of Saint Francis downtown campus. The Mayor was joined by University President Sister M. Elise Kriss, OSF, at the USF Performing Arts Center, one of two downtown buildings that would be renovated with the help of Legacy dollars.
“The University of Saint Francis has already made a significant commitment to the revitalization of downtown Fort Wayne with the purchase of the former Chamber of Commerce Building and the former Scottish Rite,” said Mayor Henry. “The university’s plans to renovate these buildings and fill them with 250 to 300 students will advance educational attainment and the continuing positive momentum in our vibrant and exciting downtown. We’re investing in our future with a strong commitment to education and quality of life.”
“A downtown university presence will create cultural activities that attract a diverse creative class, ignite social activity and could lead to the establishment of niche businesses,” said President Kriss. “We haven't developed the downtown campus yet, and already the university’s proprietary programs and events have brought 25,000 people downtown to the USF Performing Arts Center.”
The Higher Education Opportunity Fund was created as part of Legacy Fort Wayne and is intended to provide higher-learning nonprofit institutions up to a $3 million, 3-to-1 match for capital investments. The investments must be made in downtown Fort Wayne or surrounding core neighborhoods. The Opportunity Fund has a limited amount of dollars available and applications are considered as they are submitted.
The university plans to renovate a significant portion of the 120,000 square feet of space. Renovations at the two buildings, 826 Ewing St., the former Chamber building, and 431 W. Berry St., the former Scottish Rite, will cost approximately $12.3 million. The building at 826 Ewing will be home to the Keith Busse School of Business and Entrepreneurial Leadership and will connect students with local businesses, addressing “brain drain” and creating a pool of talented candidates for the region’s jobs.
The building at 431 W. Berry will house the USF Music Technology and Media Entrepreneurship Training in the Arts (META) programs. It will offer collaborative workspace for students, recording studios, video production facilities, rehearsal space, facilities and offices. The building also houses a 2,000 seat auditorium, which is open for public rental, drawing even more people downtown.
The university estimates that 250 to 300 students will be enrolled in majors based at the downtown campus, with capacity to grow to 500. It’s expected that the work will create 86 construction jobs, eight permanent jobs and bring 23 existing jobs downtown. Pending progress in the fundraising plan, officials hope to start construction in 2014.
The proposal to provide Legacy funding to the University of Saint Francis downtown campus will be introduced to City Council on January 14. Discussion of the proposal is planned for January 21 with possible final passage on January 28.
December 3, 2013 – The first comprehensive look at Fort Wayne's riverfront development possibilities is now underway. The Downtown Riverfront Development team led by SWA Group is in Fort Wayne for three days to meet with City staff and community leaders.
"We are excited to get the study underway," said Deputy Director of Planning and Policy Pam Holocher. "The purpose of the study is to look at all the opportunities and challenges that are part of riverfront development. From there, we'll ask citizens what they want to see along our rivers and create a specific plan for action."
The Downtown Riverfront Development Study is intended to provide the road map for a world-class investment. Areas of focus will include land use; engineering and infrastructure investment; environmental and ecological issues; watershed and flooding issues; connectivity to trails, downtown and nearby neighborhoods; access to the river; retail; entertainment; and housing.SWA Group, an urban planning, design and landscape architecture firm working worldwide from seven locations, was chosen by a panel of City and community leaders to conduct the study. SWA has extensive expertise in riverfront development in the U.S. and around the world. SWA's team will include Fort Wayne-based MKM Architecture + Design; Biohabitats; Moffatt & Nichol; Market Feasibility Advisors; and AMEC. Additional information about SWA can be found at www.swagroup.com. The SWA Team is headed by Kinder Baumgardner, a landscape architect who works globally.
"SWA is thrilled to be working in Fort Wayne," said Baumgardner. "It's clear your community has a great deal of momentum right now, and taking advantage of your rivers is the next step in creating a world-class city. We've taken dozens of cities through similar processes with fantastic results and we know Fort Wayne is poised for similar success."
While in Fort Wayne, the consultants will gather information about everything from water quality to historical information to zoning regulations and will talk with local engineers, water quality specialists, environmentalists and more. After the information-gathering phase, the consultants will reach out to the public to determine what local citizens want to see along the rivers and then provide options to which the public can react. The entire process should take 12 to 18 months.
Mayor Henry names advisory committee
November 13, 2013. – The first comprehensive look at Fort Wayne's riverfront development possibilities is moving forward. A contract between the City of Fort Wayne and SWA Group for a Riverfront Development Study received final approval last night from Fort Wayne City Council. The contract amount is $499,500 and is funded through Legacy dollars.
Today, Mayor Tom Henry named the group of citizens and staff who will guide the study and provide input. Ray Kusisto, Ortho NorthEast (ONE), and Deputy Mayor Karl Bandemer will serve as co-chairs of the Riverfront Advisory Committee.
Other members include: Nick Arnett, Creative Collective LLC; Dave Arnold, Ambassador Enterprises; Mark Becker, Greater Fort Wayne, Inc.; Ian Boyce, Dickmeyer Boyce Financial Management Inc.; Steve Brody, Brody Consulting LLC; Tim Hall, Hall's Restaurants and Fort Wayne Outfitters; Patti Hays, Lutheran Health Network; Lindsay Hively, Kernel Coladas Gourmet Popcorn; Nancy Jordan, Lincoln Financial Group; Dawn Rosemond, Barnes & Thornburg, LLP; Rick Samek, Carson Boxberger, LLP; Tom Smith, Fort Wayne City Council; Wendy Stein, Stein Ad Promos, LLC; Ron Turpin, Lincoln Financial Group; John Urbahns, City of Fort Wayne Community Development; Irene Walters, IPFW; and Dan Wire, Tri-State Watershed Alliance.
The first meeting of the Advisory Committee will be December 5, when SWA visits Fort Wayne and begins the 12 to 18-month process of examining data, seeking public input and exploring possibilities for development.
The Riverfront Development Study is intended to provide the road map for a world class investment. Areas of focus will include land use; engineering and infrastructure investment; environmental and ecological issues; watershed and flooding issues; connectivity to trails, downtown and nearby neighborhoods; access to the river; retail; entertainment; and housing.
SWA Group, an urban planning, design and landscape architecture firm working worldwide from seven locations, was chosen to lead the study. SWA has extensive expertise in riverfront development in the U.S. and around the world. SWA's team will include Fort Wayne-based MKM Architecture + Design; Biohabitats; Moffatt & Nichol; Market Feasibility Advisors; and AMEC. Additional information about SWA can be found at www.swagroup.com. City leaders emphasize the public will have an important role throughout the study process. Proactive outreach efforts will be used to gather input on concepts for creating a viable and exciting riverfront action plan.
October 22, 2013 – A resolution to allocate Legacy funding for college scholarships and non- profit programming aimed at improving job readiness, skill development, and advancing education attainment for City residents will be introduced at tonight’s Fort Wayne City Council meeting.
The resolution calls for $3 million to be allocated to the Higher Education Scholarship Fund and $2 million to be allocated to the Educational Services Fund. Both funds would continue to be held in the City's Community Legacy Fund and only dollars from the investment earnings would be spent annually.
The Higher Education Scholarship Fund would be administered by the Questa Foundation, which provides scholarships throughout northeast Indiana. The scholarships would be awarded to students residing in the City and preparing to enter a higher education institution located in the City.
The Education Services Fund would be administered by Community Development staff and grants would be awarded to non-profits through an annual request for proposals (RFP) process. The dollars would support programming designed to improve job skills for City residents.
The resolution is expected to be discussed at City Council on November 5, with final passage expected on November 12.
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