From the ELA: Investing in Riverfront Development Means Promising a Greater Quality of Life

June 26th, 2017

Millennials and young professionals throughout Northeast Indiana are joining together to speak out in favor of investment in Riverfront Development in downtown Fort Wayne.

The Fort Wayne City Council is considering a proposal to increase local income tax by 0.15 percent to support phase two of the Riverfront Development project. In addition to Riverfront Development, funds raised from the tax increase would also be used for repairs to local sidewalks and alleys and the creation of sidewalks to connect more neighborhoods with schools.

Northeast Indiana’s Emerging Leaders Alliance (ELA) strongly supports investment in Riverfront Development to continue to build upon the region’s economic progress and develop quality of place assets to attract and retain talent and businesses.

ELA members feel Riverfront Development is a critical cornerstone project to the Road to One Million plan, which is the region’s plan to grow the region’s population to 1 million residents by 2030.

ELA Members Share Why Investment in Riverfront Development is Critical to Regional Growth 

Kristin Amstutz: Allen County

As a young leader who made the decision to stay in the Fort Wayne area, I am excited to see what the Riverfront Development project can do for our community.  When I look around the region, I have so much pride in how far we've come but also look around at all of the untapped potential.  With so much of our history focused on the three rivers, it always surprised me how little action happens around them. I truly feel that we must continue the momentum in the positive changes that are happening in our community and recognize what we all will benefit from it. I see the vision of Riverfront Development and support investing it.

Megan Grimes: Allen County

Should we invest in the riverfront development? Absolutely. Over the last decade, I've had the pleasure of seeing ideas proposed then brought to life and soaking up the experiences that came with them. I am still benefiting from the improvements made to our city, which is why I believe investing in Riverfront Development means promising a greater quality of life and more meaningful experiences for everyone in our region. To me, taking on another project is necessary to continue to grow and strengthen our community. Let's move forward, continue to enhance our region, and show other communities that with perseverance, patience, and passion. Dreams do come true. After all, we are a city of dreamers, aren't we?

Brad Hartman: Allen County

Of all the things happening in Northeast Indiana, the Riverfront Development is what I am most excited about. Our city was founded because of the rivers and this project represents an exciting way for residents and visitors alike to enjoy a big part of our history. The headline of a recent article in the Journal Gazette says it best: "Goal for riverfront to be city's 'playground'". Upon its completion, the Riverfront Development will be an exciting way to enjoy our city as activities and events are sure to follow. The rivers are the foundation of our city and I support investing in Riverfront Development to take our region to the next level.

Jamie Holt: Allen County

Being a Fort Wayne native and raising my boys in this amazing city, I sit back and think how if I just give up two cups of a coffee a month I can ensure that my family sees the amazing potential that Fort Wayne has to offer. Just making that one miniscule sacrifice will provide funding for Riverfront Development and provide a safer place for all those who live and visit our amazing city. Not only will the area be safer but more businesses will be able to thrive in that area, which in turn will cause the entire community to thrive.

Katie Miller-Sweet: Allen County

The Riverfront Development project is important because it allows our region to continue growing. We have had an exemplary amount of change in the last few years, specifically downtown. It will be fantastic to see this growth move into different cities and counties. This regional momentum can encourage more development to attract new businesses and provide jobs for more individuals.

Katie Robinson: Allen County

As someone who was born and raised in Fort Wayne, I have seen where our city has been, and have been lucky enough to be a very small part of where it is going. It is essential for us to continue investing in our city, and our future. Riverfront Development has the ability to lead the way in a new chapter in the history of Fort Wayne. "Potential" is a word that is thrown around about Fort Wayne a lot, and while the idea of creating a place that will be vibrant and welcoming for residents and visitors alike is exciting, putting those words and ideas into motion is even more exciting. As a young professional who chose to stay in Fort Wayne, and is now beginning a family to raise here, it is important to me to invest in my community and to continue moving the momentum we have collectively worked so hard to build forward. I not only want to see people my own age loving our city, but I want my children to love it as well. I believe it is essential for our City Council to support the proposed tax increase to assist in funding Riverfront Development, and to support the city that they represent.

Victoria Sarjeant: Allen County

I feel like I am looking at the changes in Fort Wayne with a different perspective. I grew up in central Indiana, and nothing compares to excitement, investment, love and care that this city has for its citizens and its economy. This excitement, and the changes with it, have kept me here. I could have gone home after college, but it felt like new things were happening every day. Now we are faced with another change. Riverfront Development not only is exciting, but it builds off of the city’s natural beauty and history. If we have learned anything from history, change can be good. It has been excellent for the growth of Fort Wayne and the local economy. Please consider investing Riverfront Development. You are not only investing in our future, but our community. 

Sami Jacobs: Noble County

Fort Wayne already has great momentum as far as economic growth, and it is my firm belief that we need to build upon that momentum with investment in Riverfront Development. If we're not moving forward, we're moving backward! Throughout the six years I've lived in Fort Wayne, I have seen the people who live here completely change their attitudes and develop a true pride for Fort Wayne because of projects like this one. Building upon Riverfront Development is not just building a project; it is building our community's identity.

Nicole Satalino: Whitley County

The Fort Wayne City Council should vote to invest in Riverfront Development as we continue to grow as a region and work towards increasing regional pride. I believe this project will generate excitement within our community. That excitement will spread and motivate people to get out and explore all that our rivers have to offer. Fort Wayne is becoming more of an active community and I want to see that continue. Riverfront Development should be a top priority because it will help beautify our region, and increase community engagement.

Kati Todd: Whitley County

Having access to all of the amenities that downtown Fort Wayne has to offer, coupled with the opportunity to enjoy our waters would be the best of all worlds. 

The ELA encourages you, as citizens, to write and call Fort Wayne City Council members to show your support for this important initiative. Please also attend two upcoming City Council meetings where public testimony will be heard regarding this funding plan.

5:30 p.m. June 27— Public testimony

5:30 p.m. July 11 — Final vote

Regular meetings of the Fort Wayne City Council are held at Citizens Square at 200 E. Berry St.

Fort Wayne City Council Members