Council members send Electric Works questions to redevelopment director

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Several Fort Wayne City Council members have signed a letter to the city’s redevelopment director. They asked Nancy Townsend several questions about the Redevelopment Commission’s decision to end the Electric Works Economic Development Agreement.

The letter, signed by Paul Ensley, Russ Jehl, Tom Didier, Geoff Paddock, Sharon Tucker, Michelle Chambers, Tom Friestroffer and Glynn Hines, asks about the plan moving forward for the project that would bring new life to the old General Electric campus.

“Reasonable people disagree on the wisdom of Electric Works’ public funding and whether it was time to pull the plug,” Jehl said in a statement. “Regardless, we all deserve a real explanation and a plan moving forward, which is why Council members of both sides of the issue signed the letter and President Didier is adding Redevelopment to our agenda.”

The unanimous commission vote to cancel the agreement came after a key deadline passed for project developers to meet financial requirements. According to Townsend, there was a multi-million dollar shortfall in meeting the requirements, preventing developers from securing $62 million in public funds. The agreement’s deadlines have been extended five times since being drawn up in 2018.

Other questions in the letter include asking if the city will continue working with the developers, if the fact that the city does not own the land comes into play, will the city work acquire the land and find new developers, among others.

Redevelopment leaders have been invited to address council on August 18.

Councilman Jason Arp was the only council member who did not sign the letter. He is a member of the Redevelopment Commission.

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