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All Around Downtown: An Insider's View

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - The population of people living downtown continues to be on the rise as more and more housing options become available. 

So, what is it like to live in the heart of the city? NewsChannel 15 talked with two downtown residents who also work in the neighborhood. 

"A lot of people growing up said, 'hey we gotta get out, we gotta get out,'" downtown resident Tara Cahill said about being raised in the Summit City. "I never really felt that way. I was pretty indifferent. But, the Fort Wayne I live in, is not that Fort Wayne."

Tara and Lizzie Gordon both live, work and play downtown and serve as examples of what city leaders are striving to find more and more of.

"It is a whole new Fort Wayne, and it's growing and I'm very proud to call it my home," Cahill added.

Tara found a place to live on Wayne Street and walks every day to work at an accounting firm on Main Street.

Lizzie, chose to live downtown as she moved back to Fort Wayne from Colorado.

"It was a way to push myself to get out and do more," Gordon said.

She found her place on Calhoun Street by using the Downtown Improvement District website. She also walks to work, a block-long commute to the new Ash building.  

"Having to drive somewhere, I wouldn't have wanted to do as much, versus I can walk anywhere in a mile, mile and a half and that's so much easier, especially when it's nice out," Gordon explained. "It's a great walking city."

Tara and Lizzie are similar in the fact that they enjoy walking around downtown more than driving around the city. They also hang out at the restaurants, bars and coffee houses in the neighborhood, relying less on their cars than most of us.

"I think it's been over 40 days since I last filled up my tank," Cahill said.

"I forget where it is some times," Gordon added about her car. "I drive, in the summer it will be a little more, but in the winter, once a week, once every two weeks."

Those cars are pulled out on a regular basis for one thing: a trip to the grocery store. It's a common complaint about downtown living. One both of these young women share.

"When I didn't work downtown, that would be an easy thing because on my way home, I could just pick something up," Gordon explained. "Now it's just an extra step. So I try to do it the least amount possible."  

"I've tried out different options like Hello Fresh and Plated, but it's still not the same as going to get your groceries," Cahill said. 

There are the inconveniences of walking in snow and rain, and without a house, your neighbors are closer and louder. But with those problems comes energy... energy that's building with the growth in population in the '02.

A study out of IPFW last year tracked that number to some 350 new residents in the past 17 years, making a total of some three thousand neighbors.

"You just notice there are so many more people around," Gordon observed. "Everyone you talk to is down here much more often."

"It's just fun to be a part of something that's growing and changing and that's what downtown is," Cahill said. "So, what am I doing with my life? I am absolutely thriving in downtown Fort Wayne and making my life grow. If anybody is thinking about it, your life is going to grow down here. You know it is. You can keep up with the momentum and have that push you too. That's what I'm doing. The momentum is pushing me too."

The third part of the series of special reports, All Around Downtown: A New Perspective, will air Monday, May 14 at 6:00 p.m. It will feature new and future businesses opening in the '02. 


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