Board approves $1.8 million in Regional Cities funding for Fort Wayne trails
By Bob Caylor | News-Sentinel
The board that decides where Regional Cities money is spent voted Tuesday to grant almost $1.8 million to help build about 8 miles of trails in Fort Wayne.
During its meeting in Geneva, in southern Adams County, the Regional Development Authority Board recommended that the city of Fort Wayne received $1,773,671, 20 percent of the $9.5 million project cost. Those funding recommendations must be approved by the Indiana Economic Development Corp. So far, no funding recommendations from the regional board have been rejected by the state.
The trails in the project proposed in the project’s plan would extend from:
- Lower Huntington Road along Bluffton Road through Waynedale to Foster Park;
- Washington Center Road to Wallen Road;*Fernhill Avenue to State Boulevard; and
- The Fernhill-State trail to Franke Park and the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo.
The board also heard presentations from three other groups.
South Adams Trails in Adams County requested a $498,000 grant. That would pay 16 percent of a $3.6 million plan to place two antique iron bridges end-to-end as a means to carry a trail north of Geneva across the Wabash River.
In Huntington, the city, Huntington University, Pathfinders Services and developer Jonathan Anderson of Indianapolis want $1.6 million, 20 percent of the $8 million plan to renovate a block of buildings into 35 market-rate apartments, plus large spaces for Pathfinders and the university.
Huntington University would use the space for an enlarged Center for Entrepreneurship. University President Sherilyn Emberton said that rapidly expanding programs that give students hands-on experience in business need more room, and two of the three buildings in the block were used decades ago by businesses affiliated with the United Brethren Church. Huntington University remains affiliated with that church.
The Pathfinders project would create a space where disabled clients could make and sell art, though it wouldn’t be restricted to disabled clients.
The Enterprise Center in Steuben County requested $323,000, 17 percent of the $1.9 million cost to create a training center and business incubator in Angola.
The Regional Cities Initiative provided $42 million over two years to an 11-county area in northeast Indiana. Now the Regional Development Authority is hearing requests for pieces of that funding, all dedicated to improving the appeal of this region as a place to live. The rationale for Regional Cities as an economic-development strategy is that improving the attractiveness of the area will lure or help retain more talent here.