FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry announced Friday a new list of proposed projects for the Legacy Fund money.
The projects, which range from creating a new community center to beautifying the corridors into downtown Fort Wayne, will be presented to city council at its meeting on December 11. The council could give final approval at its December 18 meeting.
At a council meeting at the end of October, the mayor presented more ideas for ways to use legacy money. After hearing feedback from council members, the list has been pared down to nine ready for final council approval. Some ideas that still need to be flushed out include using some of the money toward public services, social services, entrepreneurship, and downtown public art endowments.
"This is a good balance of the administration and council working together," councilman Tom Smith (R), said. "The administration isn't trying to bring down everything. It realizes some things need to be massaged and worked out."
The initial Legacy Fund recommendations focus on economic development, downtown and riverfront development, and youth development.
"I am pleased to advance transformational projects for our community. Each Legacy project provides us with an opportunity to make our city stronger and better positioned for growth," said Mayor Henry in a news release. "By working together, we will leave a lasting legacy for future generations."
The city has $47 million available from the City Light Lease Settlement. An additional $28 million will be received over the next several years. Council will set aside $30 million, leaving $45 million to be spent.
In 2011, Henry formed Legacy Fort Wayne to gather public input for ideas on how to spend the money.
Last month, city council approved the Fort Wayne Community Trust Ordinance. Honoring the input of the public, the ordinance ensures the best stewardship of the Legacy funds, promotes their continued careful investment and management, and defines their catalytic role in community development.
Additional recommendations and requests for Legacy Fund projects are expected to be presented to city council in the next several months.
Below are the nine projects ready to be presented to city council for approval. Council can either vote on them as a whole or individually, but either way, the projects need a super majority to pass. The super majority would be six out of nine votes.
"We're setting the bar as high as you can to show these are supported, good projects," Smith said.
Smith expects the projects to pass and hopes council doesn't open them up for more discussion.
"So much public input has been put in. This was a wise and good process we went through and we need to trust the results, trust the process. We're ready to go," he said.
If city council approves the projects on December 18, they would still need to get final approval by the Community Trust board.
Legacy Fund Project Proposals:
"Riverfront Development Study – up to $500,000
An action plan including engineering elements which will provide the road map to implement a world class downtown riverfront development. A request for proposals will be issued in early 2013; plan completion in 2013/2014; phase I implementation in 2014.
Higher Education Opportunity Fund - $8 million
This will provide funds to assist higher education institutions to purchase property, develop new facilities, rehabilitate older buildings in downtown, and provide needed infrastructure.
Downtown Trust - $1 million
The Trust is structured to be in position to move expeditiously and strategically to secure options to purchase and/or purchase properties as they become available downtown.
Downtown Overpass/Underpass Beautification and Lighting - $2.1 million ($700,000 per year for three years)
Overpasses serving as gateways to Fort Wayne's downtown will be transformed with unique overpass signage and underpass art light. Phase I construction will occur in 2013.
Ewing/Fairfield Conversion - $3 million
Conversion of Ewing and Fairfield from one-way to two-way, along with streetscape and pedestrian, bike and place making improvements. Construction to occur in 2013 and 2014.
Gateways - $2 million ($500,000 per year for four years)
Wayfinding signage; corridor enhancements; interchange beautification along and adjacent to Fort Wayne's major gateway corridors. Phase I construction in 2013.
Trail Development - $1 million
The funding will provide the 20% local match needed for previously committed federal dollars that will go toward implementing several City trail projects in 2013/2014.
-Rivergreenway extension from Johnny Appleseed Park to Shoaff Park
-Two sections along the Pufferbelly Trail
-Engle Road Trail
-Six Mile Creek Trail Phase I
-Covington Road Trail
Youth Sports Assessment/Market Potential Study and Implementation – up to $200,000
Provide guidance on how best to market existing strategies and determine untapped opportunities. In addition, determine facility needs with the goal of being regionally/nationally recognized
in youth/prep sports. A request for proposals will be issued in early 2013, with study completion in summer 2013.
McMillen Community Center - $2 million
Renovation of the former McMillen Ice Arena into a Community Center. Anticipated completion is 2014.
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